With the U.S. embassy officially set to open in Jerusalem on Monday after President Donald Trump recognized the city as Israel's capital last December -- a move that has been decried by much of the international community and human rights groups as a "stark violation of international law" -- Israelis opposed to the embassy move gathered in Jerusalem Saturday night to denounce Trump, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, and the brutal occupation of Palestinian territory.
The demonstrations came just hours before a delegation of Trump administration officials -- including Trump's son-in-law Jared Kushner and Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin -- arrived in Israel on Sunday ahead of a "gala reception" set to take place later Sunday evening in celebration of the embassy opening.
As Haaretz reports, most European Union ambassadors in Israel are boycotting the event -- around "30 of the 86 ambassadors in Israel accepted the invitation."
In an open letter to the United Nations Secretary General and the High Commissioner for Human Rights, a coalition of Palestinian rights groups urged the international community to take action against the embassy move and argued that "by relocating its embassy to Jerusalem, the U.S. endorses and unlawfully legitimizes Israel's policies and measures that seek to undermine Palestinians' fundamental human rights which amount to grave breaches of international law and internationally recognized crimes."
"The move further perpetuates the longstanding impunity granted to Israel in the face of its continuous and systematic violations of international law, including by endorsing the illegal annexation of Jerusalem," the groups added.
On Monday, thousands of Palestinians across the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem are expected to march in opposition to the embassy move.
As Middle East Eye reports, "The Israeli army said it would almost double the number of troops surrounding the Gaza Strip and in the occupied West Bank to tackle Palestinian protests against the U.S. embassy opening."
In recent weeks, 47 Palestinian demonstrators -- as well as at least two journalists -- have been killed and thousands more injured by Israeli forces during anti-occupation protests along the Israel-Gaza border.