Israel welcomes United States delegation and celebrates ahead of embassy move

US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman shown in March sees progress in Middle East peace despite the controversial move of Washington's embassy to Jerusalem

The members of the U.S. presidential delegation who will attend Monday's opening of the American Embassy in Jerusalem arrived in Israel on Sunday.

The Palestinian Authority's leadership has effectively refused to speak to Trump's team since the move was announced, including his son-in-law Jared Kushner, who is supposed to be spearheading a new drive for peace.

On the border with Gaza, Palestinians have also held protests as Israel prepares to mark 70 years since its creation, an event Palestinians call the Nakba, or Catastrophe, when hundreds of thousands of them were displaced from their homes. Guatemala and Paraguay plan to move their embassies to Jerusalem later this month.

Abbas says the U.S. must explicitly support a two-state solution, recognise east Jerusalem in principle as a Palestinian capital and allow other powers to join as mediators. Israel said it will prevent any border breach.

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.

Israel says it has a right to defend its border and has accused Hamas of using the protests as a cover for attacking it.

"Tragically, the USA administration has chosen to side with Israel's exclusivist claims over a city that has for centuries been sacred to all faiths", he said in a statement.

"I think recognising reality always enhances the chances for peace".

The closure of the vital cargo crossing comes at a tense time in Gaza, which has endured a border blockade by Israel and Egypt since Hamas assumed control of the territory in 2007.

Palestinian health officials said a man and a teenager were killed by Israeli fire on Friday.

In just over a year of presidency, President Trump has managed to officially recognize Jerusalem as the Capital of Israel, cut funding to reward terrorists, create a supporting stage for Israel in the United Nations, challenging every anti-Semitic resolution that comes up, and as said, he is the first president that held up to his promise about moving the US Embassy to Jerusalem.

First daughter Ivanka Trump on Saturday, two days before she was scheduled to attend the opening of the U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem, expressed "great joy" about returning there.

Israel captured east Jerusalem, along with the West Bank and Gaza Strip, in the 1967 Mideast war.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu greeted the USA delegation after it arrived Sunday, including the president's daughter, Ivanka Trump, and son-in-law and senior adviser, Jared Kushner.