Foreign Diplomats Not Invited to Embassy Opening

YERUSHALAYIM -
embassy israel
A worker hangs a U.S. flag next to an Israeli flag, by the entrance to the U.S. consulate in Yerushalayim, Monday. (Reuters/Ronen Zvulun)

The diplomatic envoys of all those countries who have refused to move their embassies to Yerushalayim and criticized the U.S. for doing so, are not invited to the gala opening on May 14.

“We have invited around 800 guests,” a U.S. embassy official was quoted by The Times of Israel as saying. “These include religious and business leaders, journalists, academics, and government representatives from the United States. We have also invited several Israeli government representatives and political leaders to attend.”

“Given that the focus of the event is on U.S.-Israeli relations, we did not extend an invitation to the foreign diplomatic corps,” he added.

Foreign diplomats won’t be the only ones left out. Most Knesset members weren’t included on the guest list. The only opposition MK to be invited was opposition MK Isaac Herzog of the Zionist Camp, and those who serve on the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, according to Haaretz.

The U.S. delegation, recently reported to number 250, has grown to 300. The list is still being finalized, but Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin is expected to head the group, which will include senior White House adviser Jared Kushner and dozens of congresspeople, governors, businessmen and other prominent pro-Israel figures.

President Donald Trump has said that he might come too.

The Palestinians were meanwhile booing on the sidelines.

Senior PA official Saeb Erekat on Monday called for an international boycott of the embassy opening (though it didn’t seem necessary, since they aren’t invited anyway).

Erekat denounced the move, saying that “As Washington pursues a policy of encouragement of international anarchy and disregard for organizations and international law, we call upon all diplomatic corps, civil society organizations, and religious authorities to boycott the inauguration ceremony of the embassy in Jerusalem, lest they lend legitimacy to an illegal decision and to continued Israeli policies of occupation, colonization, and annexation,” Erekat said.

Unperturbed, officials were releasing more details about the opening. Ambassador David Friedman and Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu are scheduled to speak, as well as officials. A video depicting the 70-year-old friendship between the U.S. and Israel will be shown. An unveiling of the new embassy’s seal was said to be the highlight of the event.

In addition, on Sunday, May 13, the Foreign Ministry will host a large reception for the American and Guatemalan embassies, which is to be attended by Guatemalan President Jimmy Morales and American officials.

Foreign ambassadors posted in Israel were all invited to that function, though it was not as yet clear how many would come.