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"I thank President Trump for making this historic moment come to fruition".

President Donald Trump and his vice president, Mike Pence, will not attend the opening of the new U.S. embassy in Jerusalem next week.

The embassy move comes after Trump recognized Jerusalem as Israel's capital previous year.

However, the official announcement from the White House had Deputy Secretary of State John Sullivan leading the delegation. In 1980, Israel annexed East Jerusalem and declared the whole city as its capital, a move that was rejected by most countries in the world.

Trump made recognizing Jerusalem as the capital a campaign vow, breaking with previous presidents who believed the controversial move would kill any peace negotiations between the Palestinians and the Israelis.

"Those who will attend the ceremony will send a signal that they are encouraging the trampling of worldwide legitimacy and the inherent rights of the Palestinian people", Erekat said as quoted in the statement.

At the consulate site, mechanical diggers cleared scrubland as workers posted embassy signs along city roads and hung U.S., Israeli and Jerusalem flags from street lights.

According to eyewitnesses, three signs were placed on one of the Jerusalem roads in English, Hebrew and Arabic.


The global community largely recognizes Tel Aviv as Israel's capital.

Still, local residents are excited about the new move.

A restaurateur, she lives in the overwhelmingly Jewish neighbourhood of Arnona.

The city has been designated as "occupied" under worldwide law since the 1967 Arab War, which Palestinians want as the capital of their future state.

"We're still waiting to see if the U.S. president will come here for the opening move".

Trump said last month that he "may go" to the ceremony celebrating the opening of the American embassy, and bragged about saving money by rejecting an initial proposal to devote $1 billion for the construction of a new embassy, and replacing it with a significantly more moderate plan costing close to $400,000 instead.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in April "at least half a dozen" countries were now "seriously discussing" following the U.S. lead, though he did not identify them.


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