WORLD DIPLOMATS SKIP US EMBASSY OPENING CEREMONY IN JERUSALEM AL-QUDS: REPORT
Friday, 11 May 2018
Many countries have reportedly declined to attend the US embassy relocation ceremony in the occupied Jerusalem al-Quds in a show of anger at President Donald Trump’s recognition of the city as Israel’s "capital".
The Israeli Haaretz newspaper reported that only 30 out of 86 foreign envoys serving in Israel had accepted Tel Aviv’s invitation to the Sunday reception. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had invited the entire foreign diplomatic corps to the event.
Israel's Hadashot TV news said many European envoys, including those from the United Kingdom, France and Germany, boycotted the May 14 event.
"It is a little strange to invite us to celebrate an event that we opposed and condemned. The Americans were more clever and knew in advance not to invite us to save themselves from embarrassment," the network quoted a diplomatic source as saying.
The event, which will take place a day before the official relocation ceremony, will be attended by US President Donald Trump's daughter and adviser, Ivanka Trump, his son-in-law and adviser, Jared Kushner, US Secretary of the Treasury Steven Mnuchin and other elected US officials.
Haaretz reported this week that the Israeli foreign ministry did not invite most of the Israeli opposition lawmakers to the reception.
Senior Palestinian official Saeb Erekat on Monday called on foreign dignitaries in Israel and around the world to "boycott the inauguration ceremony... lest they lend legitimacy to an illegal decision and to continued Israeli policies of occupation, colonization and annexation."
“Those who attend the ceremony will thus be sending an ominous message, a message that they encourage flagrant violations of international law and the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people,” said Erekat.
Last December, Trump announced his decision to recognize Jerusalem al-Quds as Israel’s so-called capital and relocate the US embassy from Tel Aviv to the occupied Jerusalem al-Quds, breaking with decades of American policy.
His decision infuriated the Palestinians, who declared that Washington could no longer play a role as a mediator in the so-called Middle East peace process. It also sparked outrage across the Muslim world and even among Washington's Arab allies.
On December 21, the United Nations General Assembly overwhelmingly voted in favor of a resolution that calls on the US to withdraw its controversial recognition of Jerusalem al-Quds as the Israeli “capital.”