Israeli PM hails ‘historic’ US decision on Jerusalem
Benjamin Netanyahu thanks US president for ‘historic’ decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Wednesday thanked U.S. President Donald Trump for his “historic” decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.
“This is a historic day,” Netanyahu said in a statement issued immediately after Trump’s announcement.
“Jerusalem has been the capital of the Jewish people for 3,000 years and the capital of Israel for 70 years,” he added.
Directly addressing the U.S. president, the Israeli PM conveyed the gratitude of “the Jewish people and the Jewish state”.
“We are profoundly grateful to the president for his courageous and just decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and prepare for the opening of the U.S. embassy here,” he said.
Netanyahu went on to say that the move reflected Trump’s commitment to achieving peace in the region.
“The president’s decision is an important step towards peace,” he asserted. “There is no peace that does not include Jerusalem as the capital of the state of Israel.”
He also pointed out that Trump’s decision would not change the status quo at Jerusalem’s holy sites, calling on “other countries that seek peace” to follow Washington’s lead in relocating their respective embassies.
Israeli President Reuven Rivlin, meanwhile, congratulated the Jewish people on Trump’s controversial announcement, which Rivlin described as a “gift” to mark the 70th anniversary of Israel’s establishment.
The move, Rivlin said, constitutes “a milestone” in the “right of the Jewish people to their land”.
Israel’s right-wing education minister, Nafatli Bennet, for his part, said it was a “bright day” for Jews around the world.
Jerusalem, Bennet declared, “will remain our capital forever”.
On Wednesday, the U.S. president announced his decision -- despite widespread opposition across the Middle East -- to formally recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.
Jerusalem remains at the core of the Israel-Palestine conflict, with Palestinians hoping that East Jerusalem -- now occupied by Israel -- might eventually serve as the capital of a future Palestinian state.
During his election campaign last year, Trump repeatedly promised to relocate the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.