May 14 (UPI) — Dozens of people were killed in violence in Gaza Monday ahead of the controversial opening of the new U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem.
Ceremonies marking the embassy’s move from the official capital in Tel Aviv were intended to be festive and celebratory, but authorities are preparing for demonstrations that could turn into fighting.
An interim embassy began operating at the existing U.S. consulate building Monday. The doors opened at 4 p.m., during in a 90-minute ceremony led by U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman.
Ivanka Trump and husband Jared Kushner, both senior White House advisers, represented the United States at the ceremony. U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Deputy Secretary of State John Sullivan also attended.
President Donald Trump delivered a message via video in which he called the embassy move “a long time [in] coming.” He referred to Jerusalem as capital “a reality,” adding that the United States remains “fully committed to faciliating a lasting agreement” between Israelis and Palestinians.. Hundreds attended the ceremony, which was livestreamed on the embassy’s Facebook page.
Ivanka Trump formally opened the embassy with a short statement. Kushner and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu were among the speakers at the ceremony..