by Nesanel Segal | Tuesday, May 15, 2018
Monday’s opening of the U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem was not yet the promised move of the embassy from Tel Aviv. The ambassador now has an office in the Jerusalem Consulate General’s annex campus instead of in a rented room at the King David Hotel. A plaque now marks the identity as ‘United States Embassy – Jerusalem, Israel’ and adds President Trump’s name.
This first phase only involves shifting the ambassador and core staff to Jerusalem — less than a half-dozen people. The new presence will operate as a diplomatic nerve center.
Including building modifications and additional security, this first move cost less than $400,000, within the revised budget.
Some Palestinians view moving the embassy as a major betrayal of Washington’s decades-old role as a potential broker for a peace deal with Israel. Those who arrived at the ceremony to celebrate the opening of the new embassy dismissed claims that the move undermines the chances for peace between Israelis and Palestinians.
On Tuesday, May 15th, Palestinians marked the Nakba, Arabic for “catastrophe,” a term used for the flight and expulsion of an estimated 600,000 Palestinians seven decades ago upon Israel’s creation.
President Trump’s national security adviser, John Bolton, asserted that moving the embassy from Tel Aviv is “a recognition of reality” that ends the United States and Israel “operating on a completely different wavelength.”
“Recognizing reality always enhances the chances for peace,” Bolton added.
Adapted from The Washington Post, Ruth Eglash with Brian Murphy, “Jerusalem welcomes the new U.S. Embassy as Palestinians decry ‘hostile’ move,” Middle East, revised, May 14, 2018.