Jerusalem - Tel Aviv railway opening delayed six months

Jerusalem - Tel Aviv railway opening delayed six months”

Trump administration officials say the new USA embassy in Jerusalem will open in May 2018, to coincide with the 70th anniversary of Israel's declaration of independence.

Congress passed a law in 1995 recognizing Jerusalem as Israel's capital and requiring the president to move the American embassy to the city, but previous US leaders have invoked waivers permitted under the law to avoid starting that process. "Much of the embassy staff could continue to operate from Tel Aviv during the early stages", writes the Times.

Last month, US Vice-President Mike Pence told the Israeli parliament that the move would occur sometime before the end of 2019.

The new US embassy in Jerusalem will open in May 2018 in celebration of Israel's 70th anniversary, according to Israeli newspaper the Jerusalem Post. Both Palestinians and Israelis consider Jerusalem to be their capital, and most United Nations members hold that the city's final status shouldn't be decided until a peace agreement is reached.

A spokesman for the Gaza health ministry said 25 Palestinians were wounded by Israeli live fire during clashes along the fence with Israel in Gaza.

While symbolically important, the move is likely a preliminary step in a broader relocation effort initiated by the administration in December, which Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has said will take "years".

"This decision will turn Israel's 70th Independence Day into an even bigger celebration".

"In May, the United States plans to open a new U.S. embassy in Jerusalem".

Adelson offered to help fund the embassy back in December, around the same time Trump made his controversial announcement.

"There is no greater gift than that!"

The State Department then chose to retrofit an existing U.S. consular facility in Arnona for use ahead of the permanent embassy's construction.

The State Department in theory has the legal authority to accept private donations for an embassy, though the donors would have to be vetted by the State Department.

In this handout photo provided by the Israel Government Press Office (GPO), President Donald Trump, left, meets with Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on May 22, 2017 in Jerusalem. Minister of Transportation and the Minister of Intelligence Yisrael Katz thanked U.S. president Donald Trump on Twitter. That raised eyebrows not just because of the firestorm the subject has raised in the region, but because there's no suitable facility for the embassy in Jerusalem at this point.

Palestinian health officials said at least 20 Palestinians, majority in Gaza, have been killed in protests against Trump's decision since the 6 December announcement.

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