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White House Weighs Legality of Using Private Funds to Build Jerusalem Embassy


Israeli forces shot tear gas canisters at protesters who marched to express rejection of US President Donald Trump's decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and to transfer the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

Palestinians object to recognition of the disputed city as Israel's capital and say the embassy move could destroy a two-state solution to the decades-old Middle East conflict.

"President Trump's bold decision to move the American embassy to Jerusalem this May, in honor of our 70th Independence Day, is a testament to the unbreakable alliance and true friendship between the U.S. and Israel", he said.

Israel's Minister of Transportation and Intelligence Israel Katz confirmed that the controversial embassy would officially open on May 14.

The accelerated plan contradicts recent statements by Trump's secretary of state and vice-president.

Trump administration officials said State Department lawyers were evaluating the legality of accepting private donations to fund the move, including a contribution offer from casino mogul and GOP donor Sheldon Adelson.

The United States is planning to open its embassy in Jerusalem al-Quds in May, the State Department has announced.

A ribbon-cutting is being planned for mid-May.




Israel claims all of Jerusalem as its capital.

The State Department then made a decision to retrofit an existing USA consular facility in Arnona for use ahead of the permanent embassy's construction. Although Trump has promoted the Jerusalem move as fulfilling a key campaign promise, he also was outspoken last month in blasting the $1 billion price tag for a new embassy in London.

"There is no greater gift than that!"

The expected embassy move is likely to further strain the already crippled Israeli-Palestinian peace process, which has further deteriorated under President Donald Trump's administration.

Trump's move, Erekat said, "shows the determination of the U.S. administration to violate global law, destroy the two-state solution and provoke the feelings of the Palestinian people, as well as of all Arabs, Muslims and Christians around the globe".

Adelson is a major contributor to the Republican Party, a loyal supporter of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and owner of a popular tabloid in Israel.

President Trump's initial announcement in December overturned a long-standing USA policy, and led to near-universal condemnation from the worldwide community.

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