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July 20 2018, 08:16 | Irvin Gilbert
Israel prepares for opening of US embassy in Jerusalem
Trump has said the opening is meant to coincide with the 70th anniversary of Israel's establishment.
The Trump administration bypassed years of costly construction on a new embassy by essentially re-purposing an existing consular building.
"Hamas is spreading messages of its desire for a long-term cease-fire but actually digs terror tunnels into the territory of the State of Israel", said Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman on Twitter. Dozens of European countries also skipped Sunday's ceremony.
Earlier Sunday, Netanyahu told his Cabinet that there would be a "series of decisions" to build up Jerusalem, including its contested eastern sector.
"Our people will be eternally grateful for his decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital".
President Donald Trump, who in December reversed decades of USA policy by recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, has sent his daughter Ivanka and son-in-law Jared Kushner - both White House advisers - as part of a delegation to the ceremony.
The protests in the border region are slated to continue in the coming weeks.
Details of the plan are being kept tightly under wraps, but it is expected a public roll out of the peace plan will arrive within the next month to two months, sources said.
However, local and global human rights groups and Palestinian officials have accused Israel of targeting and using "excessive force" against "unarmed civilians".
The Israeli military announced that it had deployed additional combat battalions, special units, intelligence forces and snipers along the Gaza border.
Reportedly, Kushner has been assigned the task of restoring peace talks between Israel and Palestine, which came to a standstill following President Trump's divisive and most heated decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital in December previous year.
In a recorded speech released on Sunday, al Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahri criticised Trump's decision on the embassy, as well as the leaders of Muslim countries he said had sold out the Palestinians.
This year, due to the peculiar nature of the Hebrew calendar - which combines both lunar and solar elements - the Hebrew date of Jerusalem Day fell one day before the Roman date of Israel's 70th anniversary on May 14.
"I think recognising reality always enhances the chances for peace".
In 2015, the firebrand conservative reportedly called for Jews to be converted to Christianity.
Both the embassy move and the protests have symbolic timing.
The weekly protests along the Israel-Gaza border are expected to culminate Monday in parallel to the celebrations in Jerusalem.
Israeli troops have killed 45 Palestinians since the protests began on March 30, according Palestinian health officials, while no Israeli casualties have been reported. In those videos, the IDF says Hamas has been escalating events along the border, with the goal of overrunning the border this week and massacring the Jewish resident in the Israeli border communities.
The delegation, which crossed into Egypt through Rafah crossing, was invited by Egyptian officials, Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum said in a statement.
Hamas declined to comment on the departure, which is believed to be part of intensive diplomacy to contain the protest and prevent a possible breach of Israel's border. Revelers sang, danced and waved Israeli flags.
The United States is opening its new embassy in Jerusalem on Monday.
Those protests are expected to climax on Monday, with tens of thousands of people expected to gather along the Israeli border in an event timed to coincide with the USA embassy move. It will be attended by US Secretary of the Treasury Steven Mnuchin, Trump's daughter Ivanka, presidential adviser and Ivanka's husband Jared Kushner. The U.N., European Union and rights groups have accused Israel of using excessive force against unarmed protesters.