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US inaugurates embassy to Israel in Jerusalem

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  • Mon, 05/14/2018 - 19:00
Ivanka Trump
  • EFE

The daughter of the United States' president on Monday opened the new US embassy to Israel in Jerusalem.

Ivanka Trump, accompanied by Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, unveiled a plaque to officially inaugurate the embassy, which was moved from Tel Aviv.

"On behalf of the 45th president of the United States, we welcome you officially and for the first time to the embassy of the United States, here in Jerusalem, the capital of Israel," Ivanka Trump said after the plaque was revealed.

In a video message, US President Donald Trump stated "Israel is a sovereign nation with the right, like every other sovereign nation, to determine its own capital."

Trump expressed his country's commitment to the peace in the Middle East, and its support of the "status quo" of the holy sites in the city.

Israeli President Reuven Rivlin, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and an American delegation headed by US Deputy Secretary of State John Sullivan attended the ceremony.

"Thank you, President Trump, for your bold decision," Netanyahu said. "Thank you for making the alliance between Israel and the United States stronger than ever.

Hundreds of people gathered near the embassy in two separate rallies, one in favor and the other against the historic move.

In the Gaza Strip, 40,000 people took to the Israel-Gaza boundary to protest the decision, with Israeli soldiers killing over 40 Palestinians and injuring nearly 2,000.

The US national anthem and the US ambassador to Israel, David Friedman, started the ceremony at 4 pm local time (1 pm GMT), the same time the state of Israel was declared exactly 70 years ago.

The US became the first country to open an embassy in Jerusalem since 2006, when many nations began gradually removing their embassies from the city in response to requests by the international community, as the city's final status is be settled by negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians.

Palestinians see East Jerusalem, which was occupied by Israel during the 1967 Six Day War and later annexed in 1980, as the capital of their future state.

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