JERUSALEM – Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Wednesday praised as “courageous and just” US President Donald Trump’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and his promise to transfer the US Embassy from Tel Aviv to that city.
“Thank you, President Trump, for today’s historic decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. The Jewish people and the Jewish state will be forever grateful,” the Israeli leader said in a statement minutes after Trump’s speech making the announcement.
“We’re profoundly grateful for the president for his courageous and just decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and to prepare for the opening of the US embassy here,” Netanyahu said, urging all countries to follow the US move and recognize the city as Israel’s capital and transfer their own embassies there from Tel Aviv.
After calling the day “historic,” Netanyahu said “I call on all countries that seek peace to join the United States in recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and to move their embassies here.”
“I share President Trump’s commitment to advancing peace between Israel and all of our neighbors, including the Palestinians, and we will continue to work with the president and his team to make that dream of peace come true,” Netanyahu added.
The Israeli leader promised not to change the status of the sacred religious sites in the city, and to guarantee freedom of religion for Jews, Christians and Muslims.
The Jewish state took over East Jerusalem during the 1967 Six Day War and annexed it in 1980. However, the Palestinians also claim the city as the capital of their homeland and future state, and Jerusalem is the third-holiest city to Muslims.