Hamas Chief Visits Cairo a Day Before US Relocates Embassy to Jerusalem

Risk of Violence Gauged 'Minute by Minute' Leading to Opening of US Embassy in Jerusalem

Hamas chief Ismail Hanieh traveled to Cairo on Sunday a day before the United States is expected to relocate its embassy in Israel to Jerusalem.

A frequent criticism of Trump's decision in foreign policy circles is that he won no concessions from Israel toward what the president has billed as "the deal of the century", a peace pact that senior aides have been trying to broker between Israel and Palestinians.

Additionally, police officers will stand in a "human wall" between the neighbourhood of Arnona, where the new embassy is located, and the Palestinian Sur Baher, the police said.

Trump's secretary of state at the time, Rex Tillerson, predicted it would take years to relocate the flagship USA mission to the holy city. Guatemala and Paraguay plan to move their embassies to Jerusalem later this month. The move led the Palestinians - who hold a competing claim over the Arab-majority eastern part of the city as the future capital of their desired state - to cut ties with the White House.

Hamas has signalled that large crowds, numbering perhaps in the thousands, might try to break through the border fence to realize the "right of return" to homes lost in 1948.

Washington's ambassador to Israel also said that there is still hope for peace in the region.

Monday's ceremony - which takes place on the 70th anniversary of Israel declaring its independence - for now means moving the ambassador and a small staff to the USA consular compound in the southern Jerusalem neighborhood of Arnona and rededicating the building as the American Embassy.

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"There continues to be real anger among Palestinians" over Trump's decision, the CBC's Derek Stoffel said from Jerusalem. "Recognizing reality always enhances the chances for peace". Since late March, 42 Palestinians have been killed in weekly clashes with Israel along the Gaza border.

In Jerusalem, dozens of foreign diplomats are expected to the attend the opening of the new mission, set on the site of the USA consulate, although many ambassadors who oppose the move will skip it.

It would be politically hard for any Trump successor to move the embassy back to Tel Aviv, though the next administration could theoretically still try to broker talks on the future of Jerusalem, said Nathan Thrall of the International Crisis Group think tank.

A high-ranking delegation of Gaza's Hamas rulers is heading to Egypt a day ahead of a planned massive rally at the Israel-Gaza border.

Israel captured east Jerusalem in the 1967 Mideast war and annexed it in a move not recognized internationally.

Israel has vowed to stop any breach by force, raising the possibility of major bloodshed at a time when Trump's daughter Ivanka and son-in-law Jared Kushner preside over the embassy ceremony just 70 kilometres (45 miles) away.

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