Amid heightened security, the preparations to inaugurate US embassy in Jerusalem have been marked with euphoria among Israeli Jews who view it as a "historical" development but has sparked anger among Palestinians who see it as a "provocative step" that jeopardises chances of peace in the region.
US President Donald Trump's decision in December to move America's embassy to Jerusalem from Tel Aviv triggered a joyous reaction in Israel. The move infuriated the Palestinians, who claim Israeli-annexed east Jerusalem as their capital.
"This is a momentous time. President (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 Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu 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.
"President 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.
"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, Austria and Romania- participated at the foreign ministry event.
The US delegation that has arrived for the inauguration includes, the US President's son-in-law and senior adviser Jared Kushner and his wife Ivanka, Deputy Secretary John Sullivan, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Trump's Special Representative for International Negotiations Jason Greenblatt.
Banners hailing "President Turmp is a friend of Zion", "Trump make Israel Great" and "God Bless President 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 Gaza border where a major procession led by ruling Hamas is expected later today, the Palestinian Authority (PA) and its ruling Fatah party has urged Palestinians in the West Bank to take part in widespread protests against the opening of the US embassy in Jerusalem.
The protests are part of Nakba Day, a national day 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.
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.
(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)