Tens of thousands of Palestinians converged along the Israeli border fence as the new embassy was launched in Jerusalem.
At Least 41 Killed As US Inaugurates Jerusalem Embassy
Israeli forces shot and killed at least 41 people along its border fence with Gaza on Monday, the day the inauguration of the US embassy in Jerusalem was held.
Palestinian authorities, confirmed the deaths, which came as tens of thousands of Palestinians protested against the move by the US.
President Donald Trump’s daughter, Ivanka, her husband Jared Kushner and US Treasury secretary Steven Mnuchin joined Israeli officials at the unveiling of a plaque near the existing consulate in Jerusalem.
Trump spoke via video at the ceremony, lauded in Israel as the fulfilment of a long-held desire for Jerusalem to be recognized as the Jewish nation’s capital by its most powerful ally.
"On December 6th, 2017, at my direction, the United States finally and officially recognized Jerusalem as the true capital of Israel. Today we follow through on this recognition and open our embassy in the historic and sacred land of Jerusalem,” said Trump.
“Today we officially open United States’ embassy in Jerusalem, congratulations, its been a long time coming, almost immediately after declaring statehood in 1948, Israel designated the city of Jerusalem as its capita. Today Jerusalem is the center of Israel’s government, the home of Israeli legislator and the Israeli supreme court,” Trump added.
Meanwhile, Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyaho has hailed Trump’s decision a milestone.
“Last December president Trump became the first world leader to recognize Jerusalem as our capital, today the United States of America opened right here in Jerusalem. Thank you President Trump for having the courage to keep your promises,” he said.
Netanyahu added: "What a glorious day. Remember this moment. This is history. President Trump, by recognizing history, you have made history. All of us are deeply grateful."
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, however, described Trump's decision as the "slap of the century". He says the US can no longer be considered a neutral broker in on-off Israeli-Palestinian peace talks and cannot have any future role.
Trump’s decision this year to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel reversed decades of US policy and drew criticism from Europe and Washington’s main Arab partners in the middle east. But Trump defied all the criticism and vowed to deliver on his promise regarding the issue.
Both Israeli and Palestinian officials expect the death toll in Gaza to rise. Mosques have called for residents to join protests at the border, and buses are transporting thousands, local residents said.
In defiance to the international pressure, US President Donald Trump on December 2017 announced that he officially recognizes Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.
He described the move as "a long overdue step" to advance the Middle East peace process.
The US leader said his country would support a two-state solution, if approved by both the Israelis and the Palestinians.
“Israel is a sovereign nation with the right, like every other sovereign nation, to determine its own capital,” he said.
Gulf News reported that thousands of demonstrators streamed to the frontier on Monday.
It was the highest Palestinian single-day death toll since a series of protests dubbed the “Great March of Return” began at the border with Israel on March 30 and since a 2014 Gaza war.
The health officials said 900 Palestinians were wounded, about 450 of them by live bullets, Gulf News reported.
“Today is the big day when we will cross the fence and tell Israel and the world we will not accept being occupied forever,” said Gaza science teacher Ali, who declined to give his last name.