Thirty-three countries attend US ceremony to relocate its embassy to Jerusalem, says Israel’s foreign ministry.
The United States has formally opened its embassy in Jerusalem amid deadly protests in the Gaza Strip.
The move on Monday followed a December 2017 decision by US President Donald Trump to recognise Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and relocate the US mission there from Tel Aviv.
Trump’s controversial declaration was widely condemned by the international community, with the United Nations General Assembly rejecting by a huge majority the US recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.
Most countries say the status of Jerusalem – a sacred city to Jews, Muslims and Christians – should be determined in a final peace settlement and that moving their embassies now would pre-judge any such deal.
Israel’s foreign ministry said all 86 countries with diplomatic missions in Israel were invited to the embassy opening, and 33 confirmed attendance.
US President Donald Trump recently recognised Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. An official opening ceremony for the movement of the embassy to Jerusalem from Tel Aviv is currently underway, with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and several top officials from the US on the ground.
Among them are Jared Kushner, an in-law of Trump, and his wife, Ivanka, who is Trump’s daughter.
In a recorded video clip with biblical references, Trump said: “Israel is a sovereign nation, with the right like every other sovereign nation to determine it own capital”.
“The plain reality is that Israel’s capital is Jerusalem. Today we follow through on this recognition and open our embassy on this sacred land of Jerusalem.”
“We are in Jerusalem and we are here to stay,” the Israeli leader said. “What a glorious day — remember this day. This is history.”
Trump’s decision this year to recognise Jerusalem as the capital of Israel reversed decades of US policy and drew criticism from Europe and Washington’s main Arab allies.
The status of the holy city is one of the most contested issues in the Israeli-Palestinian peace process, and critics of Mr Trump’s say it undermines the US’s role as the Middle East’s broker and dashes hopes of a two-state solution.
Here is a breakdown of the countries that attended the ceremony:
A: Albania, Angola, Austria
C: Cameroon, Republic of the Congo, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ivory Coast, Czech Republic
D: Dominican Republic
E: El Salvador, Ethiopia
G: Georgia, Guatemala
H: Honduras, Hungary
M: Myanmar, Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia
P: Panama, Peru, Philippines
R: Romania, Rwanda
S: Serbia, South Sudan
SOURCE: AL JAZEERA AND NEWS AGENCIES