President Trump Won't Attend US Embassy Opening in Jerusalem

US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman

US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman

Israel put up the first "U.S. Embassy" road signs in its capital of Jerusalem Monday morning, weeks after President Donald Trump announced the U.S. would move its embassy from Tel Aviv and recognize Israel's capital.

As eyewitnesses told Reuters, signs near the building, which is now the Consulate.

U.S. President Donald Trump will not travel to Israel for the controversial opening of the U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem, and neither will Vice President Mike Pence, according to a White House statement released on Monday.

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The announcement follows President Trump recognizing Jerusalem as Israel's capital. Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas condemned the U.S. move saying that Washington has lost its credibility as mediator in the Middle East crisis.

It remains unclear if President Trump will be on hand to officially open the diplomatic headquarters. The delegation will be led by Deputy Secretary of State John Sullivan.

Donald Trump had promised to recognise Jerusalem as Israel's capital and move the United States embassy to the city during his election campaign in 2016. No country now has its embassy in Jerusalem, instead keeping them in the Israeli commercial capital Tel Aviv. Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas has been making inroads with the European Union and Russian Federation. Half of Jerusalem was occupied and annexed by Israel following the 1967 War. However, other countries have condemned the move as it ignited tensions with Palestinians who also claim the ancient city as its capital.

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The status of Jerusalem is among the most contentious in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Trump said last month that he "may go" to the ceremony celebrating the opening of the American embassy, and bragged about saving money by rejecting an initial proposal to devote $1 billion for the construction of a new embassy, and replacing it with a significantly more moderate plan costing close to $400,000 instead.

The embassy is to get a festive inauguration on Monday next week, to coincide with the 70th anniversary of the foundation of the state of Israel.

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