WASHINGTON — The United States Embassy in Jerusalem is set to open with great fanfare on Monday, but the American ambassador to Israel will not yet work permanently out of his new office there, administration officials said Friday, and instead will split his time between Jerusalem and Tel Aviv.
That solution might be practical, given that there is little spare space in the Jerusalem building, and most of the embassy staff will be remaining in the Tel Aviv branch of the embassy for the time being. But it may also help get around any diplomatic awkwardness, allowing the ambassador, David M. Friedman, to continue to host officials whose countries oppose the American embassy move.
President Trump, who fulfilled a campaign promise by recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital last year, will not attend the opening but will address the event by video. The embassy move goes against an international consensus that it prejudges the outcome of Israeli-Palestinian negotiations over the future status of the contested city.
The planned opening comes at a time when Israel and Iran have launched attacks against each other as Iran maintains a foothold in Syria. Iran fired rockets at Israel shortly after Mr. Trump announced on Tuesday that the United States would pull out of the Obama-era nuclear agreement with Tehran.
Critics have said the American embassy move will isolate Israel in the region. But the Trump administration disputes that, pointing to comments on Thursday from the foreign minister of Bahrain, Sheikh Khalid bin Ahmed al-Khalifa, who tweeted in support of Israel and said it had the right to defend itself against Iranian aggression.
The embassy that is opening on Monday, in what was up to now the consular services section of the United States Consulate General, will be temporary. The United States is searching for a permanent site, a process that is expected to take years.
The embassy compound is partly located in a section of Jerusalem known as No Man’s Land. The area consists of land divided in an armistice agreement between Jordan and Israel at the end of the 1948 Arab-Israeli war, and boundary lines were drawn in grease pencil. Most of the world views it as occupied territory.
As of Friday, American flags were hanging along the streets leading to the quiet neighborhood of Arnona in south Jerusalem that is home to the fortresslike compound housing the new embassy. Earlier this week, road signs pointing the way to the