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Adelson offers to help Trump administration pay for US Jerusalem embassy

Demonstrator holds a Palestinian flag as he sits during clashes with Israeli troops near the Jewish settlement of Beit El near Ramallah in the occupied West Bank

The embassy will first be set up in an existing U.S. facility in the West Jerusalem neighborhood of Arnona that "will contain office space for the Ambassador and a small staff", State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said in a statement announcing the plan. "The embassy opening will coincide with Israel's 70th anniversary", AFP quoted a State Department spokesperson as saying on February 23.

"We officially recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel", Trump said to prolonged applause from a friendly audience at the annual Conservative Political Action Committee event just outside Washington, DC.

Aaron David Miller, a former USA peace mediator for Israeli-Palestinian talks, called the Jerusalem move "a real cosmic Oy Vey" moment. The U.S. ambassador to Israel and a small team of embassy personnel will make the initial move.

The Associated Press cited four unnamed United States officials on Friday saying that the Trump administration was alsoconsidering an offer from the major Republican donor Sheldon Adelson to pay for at least part of a new embassy.

According to the report, the unusual offer came shortly after US President Donald Trump's recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital in December.

One State Department official familiar with the process told CBS News private donations would make it more hard to reverse Mr. Trump's decision to move the embassy in the future.

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While Israel claims Jerusalem as its "eternal and undivided" capital, Palestinians also claim the eastern part of the city as their capital in a future independent state.

A search is underway for a site that could host a permanent Embassy, the State Department said, noting in a press release that constructing a new building would be a "longer-term undertaking".

The Palestine Liberation Organization immediately decried Washington's embassy announcement as a "provocation to all Arabs". The move broke with decades of U.S. foreign policy and inflamed tensions between the U.S., Israel and Palestinians.

Barghouti called PLO AND PA to stop security coordination in all its forms and to immediately join the 22 global organizations that United States oppose.

Trump's envoy for Middle East peace, Jason Greenblatt, and his son-in-law and advisor Jared Kushner subsequently met behind closed doors with UN Security Council ambassadors soliciting their support for a prospective Trump peace plan.

U.S. Vice President Mike Pence had said last month that the move would be completed by the end of 2019. He said that ultimately, his administration "did the right thing".

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