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The New Arab

US to open Jerusalem embassy in May

Clashes have broken out across the West Bank and Gaza since Trump's announcement [Getty]

Date of publication: 23 February, 2018

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Israeli media has suggested the date set for the Jerusalem embassy move is May 14 - the 70th anniversary of Israel's declaration of independence.

The United States is expected to open its embassy to Israel in Jerusalem in May, US officials said on Friday, according to AP.

Israeli media has reported the official move to the contested city will take place on May 14, 2018, the 70th anniversary of the creation of the Israeli state.

The embassy's relocation from Tel Aviv will signal Washington's recognition of the Jewish state and Jerusalem as its capital.

American President Donald Trump broke with decades of US policy in December by recognising Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and declaring he would move the country's embassy to the contested city.

Jerusalem is a key issue in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the move has caused widespread anger in the region and garnered international condemnation.

Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas said the United States had disqualified itself as a mediator. "We will no longer accept that it has a role in the political process," he said at the time.

Abbas's office said that "Jerusalem is the eternal capital of the state of Palestine, and is not for sale for gold or billions", with other senior officials adding they will not be "blackmailed" by Trump's threat of aid cuts.

Both the Palestinian territories and the Gaza Strip have seen daily protests and Palestinians have clashed with Israeli troops. At least 27 Palestinians have been killed since Trump's announcement on December 6.

Israel regards Jerusalem as its "undivided" capital, a position nearly the entire world rejects saying its status should be determined in peace talks with the Palestinians.

Under international law, East Jerusalem is considered occupied Palestinian territory.

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