Israel's Netanyahu to invite Trump to open Jerusalem embassy in May

Israel's Netanyahu to invite Trump to open Jerusalem embassy in May
Israel's prime minister is set to discuss the possibility of the US President Donald Trump opening the new US embassy in Jerusalem.
2 min read
04 March, 2018
Trump's decision has caused international outrage across the Arab and Muslim world [Getty]
Israel Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu will discuss the possibility of US President Donald Trump attending the opening of the controversial new American embassy in Jerusalem scheduled for May this year in his meeting with Trump on Monday.

The comments came late Saturday before the prime minister boarded a flight to the US.

In response to a question directed by a journalist to whether he planned to invite Trump for the occasion, Netanyahu responded, "I'll definitely discuss with him that possibility".

"I'm very grateful to him for this historic decision to recognise Jerusalem as Israel's capital and to move the American embassy to Jerusalem on our independence day."

Trump broke with decades of US policy in December by recognising Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and declaring he would move the country's embassy from Tel Aviv to the contested city.

The official move is set to take place on 14 May 2018, the 70th anniversary of the creation of the Israeli state.

The founding of Israel is mourned by Palestinians as the Nakba - or "catastrophe" - when an estimated 750,000 Palestinians either fled or were expelled from their homes in the war surrounding Israel's creation.

The Palestinian leadership slammed the US decision as "a provocation to Arabs".

The new embassy will initially be located in a US consular building in Jerusalem, while Washington searches for a permanent location.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said the United States had disqualified itself as a mediator. "We will no longer accept that it has a role in the political process," he said at the time.

Abbas's office said that "Jerusalem is the eternal capital of the state of Palestine, and is not for sale for gold or billions", with other senior officials adding they will not be "blackmailed" by Trump's threat of aid cuts.

Both the Palestinian territories and the Gaza Strip have seen daily protests and Palestinians have clashed with Israeli troops.

At least 27 Palestinians have been killed since Trump's announcement on 6 December.

Israel regards Jerusalem as its "undivided" capital, a position nearly the entire world rejects saying its status should be determined in peace talks with the Palestinians.

Under international law, East Jerusalem is considered occupied Palestinian territory.