Israel kicks off United States embassy celebrations in Jerusalem

Settlers accelerating facts on the ground at

The US said it chose the inauguration date to coincide with the 70th anniversary of Israel's establishment.

The United States was due to open its new embassy in Jerusalem - known as Al-Quds in Iran - later on Monday amid widespread Palestinian anger and praise from Israelis.

The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) released a statement Monday accusing the Palestinian militant group Hamas, which controls Gaza, of "leading a terrorist operation" and inciting protesters who had amassed by the border fence with Israel to conduct what Israel described as terror attacks.

"America has entered a crisis of strategic decision-making that looks at the global arena immaturely and adventurously", said parliament speaker Ali Larijani, a key establishment figure, at a conference on the Palestinian situation in Tehran.

In the West Bank, several thousand people gathered in the centre of Ramallah, while hundreds marched to the Qalandiya crossing on the outskirts of Jerusalem, where protesters threw stones at Israeli troops.

Witnesses say Israeli drones have dropped incendiary materials, setting ablaze tires that had been collected for use in a planned Gaza border protest.

Palestinian demonstrators burn tyres near the Gaza-Israel border. He said Lebanon denounces the "provocative" decision that is deepening the conflict and allowing the "Israelis to spill more blood of innocent Palestinians and increases the intensity of extremism that threatens the world community".

U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said that moving the embassy "is a national security priority" and that Trump "wanted the American embassy real estate on the right side of town" in Jerusalem.

The new USA embassy site is an interim location operating inside the existing US consulate building in Jerusalem while a search begins for a larger site.

No fewer than 30 Palestinians have been reportedly killed by Israeli forces as protest erupts at Gaza Strip following U.S. Embassy's move to Jerusalem.

The embassy move is a powerful symbol of a new unity with Israel.

Health officials said 900 Palestinians were wounded, about 450 of them by live bullets.

Protests against the embassy opening raged in Gaza.

Asked in an interview with Fox News Sunday about whether there was any life left in the peace process, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo responded by saying "the peace process is most decidedly not dead".

Mr Trump was expected to address the opening ceremony - attended by his daughter Ivanka Trump and son-in-law Jared Kushner - by video link.

"What a moving day for the people of Israel and the State of Israel", Netanyahu wrote on Twitter.

However, many have condemned the decision.

"It's when others follow, and others are following in President Trump's footsteps", he said, telling the crowd that Guatemala and Paraguay would both move their embassies later this week. It annexed East Jerusalem shortly later, claiming it part of its "indivisible capital", in a move which was not recognized internationally.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas called it a "slap in the face" and said the United States can no longer be regarded as an honest broker in any peace talks with Israel.

Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu welcomed the decision, saying it reflected that "the Jewish people have had a capital for 3,000 years, and that it is called Jerusalem".

Trump's initial decision led to a series of protests in various Middle Eastern and Muslim countries.

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