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 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.”
Palestinians to storm Israel-Gaza fence
Yahya Sinwar, the political chief of the Palestinian resistance movement Hamas, said Thursday he hopes to see hundreds of thousands of Palestinians storm the fence between the Gaza Strip and the occupied territories during protests next week that will coincide with the US embassy move to Jerusalem al-Quds.
“What’s the problem with hundreds of thousands breaking through a fence that is not a border?”asked Sinwar, who hoped Israel forces would not shoot at “peaceful” protests.
However, he warned that the protests risked spiraling out of control, saying
“the Gaza Strip is like a hungry tiger that has been starved and left in a cage for 11 years.”
The coastal enclave is under Israeli land, air and sea blockade since 2007. Sinwar said now the tiger is on the loose, and nobody knows what it will do.
On Wednesday, Sinwar said the mass anti-occupation rallies will be “decisive,” vowing that he and other top officials were “ready to die” in a campaign to end Israel’s decade-old siege of the territory.
Senior Palestinian official Ahmad Majdalani said Tuesday that May 14 “will be a huge, popular day of rage everywhere.”
“Our people will express their rejection of relocating the embassy to occupied al-Quds,” he was quoted by the Voice of Palestine, the official Palestinian Authority radio station.
Monday’s demonstration will cap six weeks of protests along the Gaza fence and coincide with the 70th anniversary of Nakba Day (Day of Catastrophe), when Israel was created in 1948.
At least 52 unarmed Palestinian protesters have been killed by Israeli live fire since protests began on March 30.
The Israeli military regime has faced international criticism over its use of live fire, with the United Nations and European Union calling for an independent investigation. Tel Aviv has rejected the call.