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Israel kicks off US embassy celebrations in Jerusalem

Press Trust of India  |  Jerusalem 

Amid heightened security, the preparations to inaugurate US embassy in have been marked with euphoria among Israeli Jews who view it as a "historical" development but has sparked anger among who see it as a "provocative step" that jeopardises chances of peace in the region.

US Donald Trump's decision in December to move to from triggered a joyous reaction in The move infuriated the Palestinians, who claim Israeli-annexed east as their capital.

"This is a momentous time. (Donald) Trump is making history. We are deeply grateful and our people will be eternally grateful for his bold decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital and to move the embassy there", Israeli said yesterday.

Netanyahu welcomed a high-level US delegation along with representatives of some 32 countries all over the world prior to the official inauguration today evening.

"Trump's decision to move the embassy to Jerusalem affirms a great and simple truth: Jerusalem has been the capital of the Jewish people for the past three thousand years. It's been the capital of our state for the past 70 years. It will remain our capital for all time," Netanyahu stressed.

With the anticipated move of to Jerusalem in the coming days, the Israeli urged other countries to follow the lead taken by of America.

"Now, you know how you recognize real leadership? It's when others follow, and others are following in President Trump's footsteps," he added.

"I call on all countries to join the US in moving their embassies to Jerusalem. Move your embassies to Jerusalem because it's the right thing to do. And move your embassies to Jerusalemlisten to this: Move your embassies to Jerusalem because it advances peace, and that's because you can't base peace on a foundation of lies," the Israeli leader emphasised.

Though very few European countries have shown inclination towards shifting their embassy to Jerusalem, representatives of four of them - Hungary, Czech Republic, and Romania- participated at the foreign ministry event.

Among Asian nations, representatives of Myanmar, and the Phillipines accepted and attended the function, newspaper reported.

The US delegation that has arrived for the inauguration includes, the US President's and senior adviser and his wife Ivanka, John Sullivan, and Trump's

Banners hailing "President is a friend of Zion", "Trump make Great" and "Trump" are splashed all over Jerusalem as Israelis celebrated not only the moving of the US embassy to the city but also Jerusalem Day yesterday.

As tensions escalate at the border where a major procession led by ruling is expected later today, the (PA) and its ruling party has urged in the to take part in widespread protests against the opening of the

The protests are part of Nakba Day, a of Palestinian mourning marking the "catastrophe" of Israel's founding, commemorated every year on May 15, but this year brought forward a day due to the embassy opening.

Though it was unclear how many would take part in the protests, the Defence Forces (IDF) were bracing for violence in the West Bank, East Jerusalem and border.

The announced on Saturday that it had deployed an extra brigade to the West Bank, as well as two extra brigades at the border.

The planned protests in Jerusalem will coincide with a planned mass rally in Gaza where Israel is preparing for the possibility of over 100,000 people rallying and rioting along the border and attempting to breach it and enter Israel.

IDF has warned Gazans to stay away from such protests dropping fliers trying to convince Palestinians that it is counterproductive to their interests and they should not act at "Hamas' puppets".

Security in Jerusalem has been bolstered for the official opening of the US embassy in the capital.

A told the Ynet site Saturday that thousands of uniformed police and officers will be deployed throughout Jerusalem starting Sunday.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Mon, May 14 2018. 15:20 IST