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.
Congress passed a law in 1995 recognizing Jerusalem as Israel's capital and requiring the president to move the American embassy to the city, but previous USA leaders have invoked waivers permitted under the law to avoid starting that process.
A May opening is earlier than expected－U.S. The date is set to coincide with the 70th anniversary of Israel declaring its independence on May 14.
Palestinians want East Jerusalem as a capital of a future independent state, but Israel captured it in 1967 and claims the entire area as its "eternal and undivided" capital. Undersecretary of State Steve Goldstein added that there had been no "formal talks" with private citizens about funding the embassy.
"What a story if this is pulled off with donations - I have never seen that happen before", said one State Department official familiar with the process of taking in us donations said.
"Come May, we're moving the ambassador and a small team to Arnona", the compound that now houses the consular operations of the US Consulate General in Jerusalem, the official said.
Jerusalem straddles the border between Israel and the West Bank.
"By the end of next year, we intend to open a new embassy Jerusalem annex on the Arnona compound that will provide the ambassador and his team with expanded interim office space", she added.
Trump's announcement recognising Jerusalem as Israel's capital and ordering that the embassy be moved broke decades of U.S. policy.
"There is no greater gift than that!" "The most just and correct move".
State Department lawyers are studying the legality of the proposal, which Adelson has been discussing with Friedman since past year, the official said.
The Trump administration is reportedly reviewing an offer to help cover the costs of the Jerusalem embassy from Casino mogul Sheldon Adelson.
"Thank you President Trump for your leadership and friendship", he said. That, in turn, could fuel new anger in a region already on edge because of a belief that Trump has made United States policy far more pro-Israel due to political pressures back home.
Officials said the United States could initially retrofit a small suite of offices at the existing facility to accommodate current ambassador David Friedman and one or two top aides including his chief of staff.