US embassy in Jerusalem opens amid Palestinian protests

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The US officially opened its deeply controversial Jerusalem embassy on Monday. (AFP)
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Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump in attendance at the opening of the US embassy in Jerusalem. (AFP)
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Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump in attendance at the opening of the US embassy in Jerusalem. (AFP)
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US ambassador to Israel David Friedman. (AFP)
Updated 15 May 2018
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US embassy in Jerusalem opens amid Palestinian protests

  • Donald Trump's daughter Ivanka and son-in-law Jared Kushner, along with Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin, led the ceremonies
  • Opens amid deadly clashes along the Israeli-Palestinian border where more than 50 people are reported to have been killed

JERUSALEM: The US officially opened its deeply controversial Jerusalem embassy on Monday in a ceremony that included a video address by President Donald Trump.
Trump told the ceremony that the United States remained committed to reaching a lasting Middle East peace though the move of its embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem has provoked outrage.
A plaque and seal was unveiled at the ceremony officially opening the embassy.
Earlier in the day, violent clashes erupted along the Gaza Strip's border, leaving at least 55 Palestinians dead from Israeli fire and thousands wounded in the conflict's bloodiest day in years.
Tens of thousands had gathered near the border in protest while smaller numbers of stone-throwing Palestinians approached the fence and sought to break through, with Israeli snipers positioned on the other side.
US ambassador to Israel David Friedman also spoke at the ceremony in Jerusalem and Trump was given a standing ovation when he mentioned him.
Friedman referred to the embassy's location as "Jerusalem, Israel" drawing wild applause.
US Deputy Secretary of State John Sullivan led the Washington delegation at the inauguration that also included Trump's daughter Ivanka and her husband Jared Kushner, both White House aides, as well as Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin.
Some 800 guests were attending the ceremony.
Jerusalem's status is perhaps the thorniest issue in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Israel considers the entire city its capital, while the Palestinians see east Jerusalem as the capital of their future state.


Kushner: Trump wants fair deal for Palestinians

Updated 25 June 2019
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Kushner: Trump wants fair deal for Palestinians

  • Fighting new economic plan ‘a strategic mistake,’ White House adviser says
  • Says plan would double Palestinian GDP in 10 years, create over a million jobs

MANAMA, Bahrain: Donald Trump wants a fair deal for Palestinians, the US president’s adviser and son-in-law Jared Kushner said on the eve of the launch in Bahrain of the White House’s $50 billion “peace for prosperity” plan.

The Palestinians are missing an opportunity to participate in the Middle East peace process by boycotting the Bahrain conference, Kushner said. “This is a strong package that has been put together. Fighting it instead of embracing it, I think, is a strategic mistake.”

The plan proposes a global investment fund for Palestine and neighboring Arab states, and a $5 billion transport corridor between the West Bank and Gaza. Palestinian leaders have rejected it, but Kushner said their criticism was “more emotional than specific.”

“Nobody has refuted our core premise that this would do a lot to stimulate the economy,” he said. “The Palestinian people have been trapped in a situation for a long time and we wanted to show them, and their leadership, that there is a pathway forward that could be quite exciting.”

The Palestinian people have been trapped in a situation for a long time and we wanted to show them, and their leadership, that there is a pathway forward that could be quite exciting.

Jared Kushner, US president’s adviser

Kushner said Trump decisions such as recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and moving the US Embassy there from Tel Aviv were evidence that the president kept his promises.

“The Palestinians might not have liked his Jerusalem decision, but he made a promise and he did it,” he said. What the president wanted now was “to give the Palestinian people a fair solution.”

Kushner said the plan would double the GDP in 10 years, create over a million jobs, reduce poverty by 50 percent and bring unemployment to below 10 percent.

“We believe this doable,” he said. “It’s hard, but if there’s a peace agreement and we set up the right structure, we think it could really lead to improving people’s lives in a substantial way.

“I think there is a lot of enthusiasm in the West Bank and Gaza to see if we can find a political solution so that this can be implemented.”

The political element of the White House plan has been delayed by uncertainty in Israel, where there will be elections this year after an earlier vote failed to produce a stable coalition, and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu may also face a criminal trial for corruption.