JERUSALEM – News channels around the globe carried live coverage of the official opening of the U.S. embassy in Jerusalem on Monday, May 14, 2018. Although the move of the embassy operations is intended to be permanent, the embassy will temporarily use the U.S. Consulate building until another location can be built or acquired and refurbished.
The embassy move, which was announced in principle in January and confirmed to occur on May 14th the following month, occurred without incident in the Israeli capital, although rioting Hamas protestors confronted Israeli Defense Forces at the Gaza border. It is not clear, however, if the border demonstrations were directly related to the opening of the embassy in Jerusalem, a precursor to Nakba Day, or just another in the continuing harassments of Israel by the terrorist organization that operates primarily in the Gaza region.
World leaders and news media reacted much as expected, using the event as a platform to promote their own political strength or espouse their personal perspectives.
Fallout has taken many forms ranging from celebration – largely from Jews and Christians – to consternation from the usual anti-Israel entities.
Turkey temporarily expelled the Israeli ambassador. This action was declared to be connected to the border violence at Gaza. Israel responded by expelling the Turkish consul in Jerusalem. Turkish President Erdogan has revived his war of words against Israel and has called for “an extraordinary summit” of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation for undisclosed reasons.
The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights condemned Israel for the “appalling, deadly violence in Gaza.” U.S. Ambassador Nikki Haley responded citing the relentless violence perpetrated against Israel by Hamas “for years, long before the United States decided to move our embassy.” She added, “Who among us would accept this type of activity on your border? No country in this chamber would act with more restraint than Israel has.”
Elsewhere around the globe,
- Iran’s Foreign Minister called moving the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem “a day of great shame” and called President Trump’s move a “wrong and unwise decision.”
- Lebanon’s Prime Minister tweeted “This decision . . . is igniting the anger of millions of Arabs, Muslims, and Christians.”
- Pakistan’s Foreign Ministry reiterated its position for the “establishment of a viable, independent, and contiguous State of Palestine on the basis of . . . the pre-1967 borders and with [Jerusalem] as its capital.”
- Ireland’s Foreign Minister said that the embassy move “is inflaming already a very tense situation.”
- The Arab League issued a statement calling the opening of the U.S. embassy a “blatant attack on the feelings of Arabs and Muslims” that would destabilize the region.
The nation of Israel is under a constant existential threat from many of its neighboring states, some of which have threated to drive all of Israel into the sea. Any action by the United States or any other nation in support of Israel will be deemed by those countries and their sympathizers as disruptive. On the other hand, the embassy move helps to restore confidence in the brotherhood and support shared by Israel and the United States ever since then-President Harry Truman became the first head of government to recognize Israel as a legitimate nation-state.
- Al Jazeera, World leaders react to US embassy relocation to Jerusalem
- Fox News, Why Trump’s promise to move US Embassy to Jerusalem is so controversial
- BBC News, Jerusalem embassy: Are other countries planning to move?
- Arutz Sheva, Belgium Summons Israeli ambassador, Turkey temporarily expels Israeli ambassador, and Israel expels Turkish consul
- Business Insider, Nikki Haley says Israel has acted with ‘restraint’ in Gaza and then walks out of UN as Palestinian envoy begins speaking