A number of “U.S. Embassy” road signs went up in Yerushalayim on Monday ahead of next week’s opening of the mission in the city.
The signs, in English, Hebrew and Arabic, were installed by workmen close to the south Yerushalayim location of a U.S. consulate building that will be repurposed as the embassy when it is officially relocated on May 14 from Tel Aviv.
President Donald Trump announced the move in December, saying he was making good on U.S. legislation and presidential pledges, dating back decades, to back Israel’s designation of Yerushalayim as its capital.
The Trump administration has left the diplomatic door open for a possible Palestinian presence in Yerushalayim, however.
“By recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and the seat of its government, we’re recognizing reality,” U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said during a visit to Israel last week.
“I also stress, as President Trump has said in December, the boundaries of Israeli sovereignty in Jerusalem remain subject to negotiations between the parties, and we remain committed to achieving a lasting and comprehensive peace that offers a brighter future for both Israel and the Palestinians.”
Street signs in Israel have sometimes fallen victim to political vandalism, with Jews erasing Arabic or Arabs the Hebrew. An Israeli police spokesman played down such prospects for the U.S. embassy signs.
“We’re not guarding the embassy signs but of course there is upgraded security around the embassy, which is already being implemented,” he said. “There are also new CCTV cameras that have been set up in the area. The perimeter and all movement in the area are being closely watched.”
A delegation of some 250 American officials and Jewish community leaders are slated to attend the opening ceremony next Monday.
The embassy will initially be located in a facility in Yerushalayim’s Arnona neighborhood that currently handles consular affairs, such as passports and visas. At first, it will only house Ambassador to Israel David Friedman and a small staff. The search for a permanent site for the embassy is ongoing, the State Department said.
Yerushalayim Mayor Nir Barkat installed the first signpost in Yerushalayim with the caption “U.S. Embassy.”
“It’s not a dream, it’s reality,” Barkat said in a statement after hanging the sign.
“I am proud and excited to hang this morning the first new signs we prepared for the U.S. Embassy, which will open next week in Yerushalayim.
“This is a historic event,” he added, “and I thank President Trump for that. Yerushalayim is the eternal capital of the Jewish people and now the world is beginning to recognize it.”