The United States of America has announced the date it would relocate its embassy to Jerusalem.
The embassy in Jerusalem would open in May 2018, coinciding with the 70th anniversary of Israel’s declaration of independence.
President Donald Trump’s administration officials told the Associated Press news agency that Congress would be notified of the move on Friday, according to Al Jazeera reports.
US Vice President Mike Pence in late January said the controversial embassy would open in 2019. This means the opening would be coming earlier than expected. A ribbon cutting ceremony is also planned for May.
The US decision to move its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem prompted angry protests in Palestine and solidarity rallies across the world.
Israeli intelligence minister, Israel Katz, thanked Trump for the announcement.
“There is no greater gift than that! The most just and correct move. Thanks friend,” Katz said in a tweet
For Palestinians, May 15 marks Nakba Day, or the “catastrophe”, when they commemorate the mass displacement of Palestinians to make way for the state of Israel.
Between 1947 and 1949, at least 750,000 Palestinians, out of a population of 1.9 million, were expelled from or fled their homes in Palestine.