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MIAMI (CBSMiami) – President Donald Trump defied much of the world in his decision to move the U.S. embassy to disputed territory in Jerusalem in a decades-long conflict. The move itself Monday was met with cheers and deadly chaos.
Israel’s consul general in Miami watched on television as the United States formally opened its embassy in Jerusalem, and saw that it was good.
“It’s a festive day. We were looking forward to the moving of the embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem for years, and we’re very happy that it’s happening today,” Consul General Lior Haiat told CBS4 News.
Palestinians were not happy. Thousands descended on the Israeli border and clashed with security forces. They want their capital in East Jerusalem, a territory disputed since the Israeli state was created 70 years ago. Scores were killed in the protests.
“Their way of expressing their disagreement is through violence and terrorism. It’s very unfortunate,” Haiat said.
Florida Governor Rick Scott attended the ceremony in Jerusalem. Earlier he visited the Western Wall, met with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and called it a “great day for Florida, Israel, and the United States.
Florida’s Republican Senator Marco Rubio said President Trump has assumed a leadership role.
“Countries like Guatemala and, most recently, Paraguay, announced their intention to move their embassies as well, and I hope more countries will choose to do the right thing and recognize Jerusalem,” Rubio said in a video statement.
But many nations have condemned the U.S. move to Jerusalem as provocative and destabilizing. The U.S. vetoed a United Nation’s Security Council resolution that said no members should recognize Jerusalem as the Israeli Capital. Britain and France opposed the U.S. on that vote. And amid the pomp and ceremony Monday, instability and provocation apparently carried the day, as protests and many deaths drew the world’s attention.
The United States, by law, has recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s rightful capital for nearly a quarter century, since a November, 1995 Congressional vote. It is a law that presidents – Democrats and Republicans – have chosen not to enforce until President Trump declared it time to follow the law.