Nations Divided

A woman walks near the U.S. consulate in Jerusalem’s Arnona neighborhood on May 13, 2018.

European nations are lining up on opposite sides of the political aisle as the grand opening of the U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem date approaches.

Of the 86 national diplomatic corps that were extended an invitation to the embassy opening, 40 have responded that they will attend, including the ambassadors from Hungary, Czech Republic, Austria and Romania.

However, some countries have declined invitations, citing both ideological and technical reasons, including Russia, Germany, Ireland, Malta, Mexico, Portugal, Australia, Poland and Sweden.

The European Union as a whole has come out against U.S. President Donald Trump’s official recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of the State of Israel. The entity drafted a resolution to condemn the Dec. 6 decision, but the measure was blocked by the Czech Republic, Romania and Hungary, according to Israel’s Channel 10 news.

The official U.S. embassy inauguration in Jerusalem’s Arnona neighborhood on May 14 will be presided over by U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman. It will also feature U.S. Deputy Secretary of State John J. Sullivan, Secretary of Treasury Steven Mnuchin, senior adviser to the president Jared Kushner, the president’s daughter Ivanka Trump and Special Representative for International Negotiations Jason Greenblatt.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, President Reuven Rivlin and a host of top Israeli officials will attend.

“Seventy years ago, the United States, under President Harry S Truman, became the first nation to recognize the State of Israel,” the U.S. State Department said in a statement released Saturday. “Moving our embassy is not a departure from our strong commitment to facilitate a lasting peace deal; rather, it is a necessary condition for it.”

The statement added that “the United States continues to support the status quo with regard to the Haram al-Sharif/Temple Mount. The administration is firmly committed to pursuing a lasting and comprehensive peace between Israel and the Palestinians that promises a brighter future for both.”

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