U.S. will 'move its embassy to Jerusalem by May'

U.S. will 'move its embassy to Jerusalem by May'

U.S. will 'move its embassy to Jerusalem by May'

Accelerating controversial plans, the Trump administration will open a small U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem in May to coincide with the 70th anniversary of Israel's declaration of independence, a State Department official said Friday.

The US State Department notified Congress on Friday that the Jerusalem embassy will open in May, to coincide with the 70th anniversary of Israel declaring independence.

None of the parties to possible future negotiations, however, has seen any part of the plan that the Trump administration periodically declares is imminent, and the Palestinian Authority cut off all contact with the United States following Trump's Jerusalem announcement. Days after Trump declared that Washington had officially recognised Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, Rex Tillerson said it was unlikely to happen before 2020.

A May opening is earlier than expected - U.S. Vice President Mike Pence told the Israeli parliament last month that the move would take place by the end of 2019.

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The May opening marks a significant acceleration.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu hailed Friday's US announcement as "a great day for the people of Israel".

The new embassy will be initially located in a U.S. consular building in Jerusalem's Arnona neighborhood while Washington searches for a permanent location, "the planning and construction of which will be a longer-term undertaking", Nauert said.

"What a story if this is pulled off with donations - I have never seen that happen before", said one State Department official familiar with the process of taking in USA donations said.

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Moving the United States embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem on May 14 is not only a violation of worldwide law, but also provocative to the feelings of the Palestinian and Arab people, said Saeb Erekat, Secretary General of the Executive Committee of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO).

In a speech Friday to the Conservative Political Action Conference outside Washington, Trump recalled his decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital.

Trump, however, told the Conservative Political Action Conference in Washington that he had made a decision to go against the advice of other countries begging him not to relocate the embassy.

But the move was derided by Saeb Erekat, the secretary general of the Palestine Liberation Organization, who said that it showed the determination of the Trump administration to "destroy the two-state solution". "It's the right thing to do".

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The Arabs refer to Israel's founding as the Nakba, or "catastrophe".

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