TEL AVIV – Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu expressed his “profound gratitude” to President Donald Trump for declaring Jerusalem to be the capital of Israel and for announcing that the U.S. embassy would move there from its current location in Tel Aviv.
“We’re profoundly grateful to the President for his courageous and just decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and to prepare for the opening of the U.S. embassy here,” the prime minister said in a televised statement. “This decision reflects the president’s commitment to an ancient but enduring truth, to fulfilling his promises and to advancing peace.”
He added that “there is no peace that doesn’t include Jerusalem as the capital of the State of Israel.”
President Reuven Rivlin also praised Trump’s decision, saying, “There is no more fitting or beautiful gift, as we approach 70 years of the State of Israel’s independence.”
“For thousands of years the Jewish people have looked up to Jerusalem, and prayed, and dreamed of the city,” the president added.
Earlier Wednesday, Trump reversed decades of U.S. policy by his announcement, which he said was simply a “recognition of reality.”
“Jerusalem is the capital the Jewish people established in ancient times,” he said. “Today Jerusalem is the seat of Israel’s government.”
Education Minister and Jewish Home leader Naftali Bennett thanked Trump on behalf of the Israeli people.
“On May 15, 1948, the United States, led by President [Harry S.] Truman, was the first nation to recognize the newly declared State of Israel. The rest of the world quickly followed,” Bennett said, noting that Truman faced tremendous pressure.
“Today, the United States, led by President Trump, became the first nation to recognize Jerusalem as the eternal capital of the Jewish people. The capital of Israel. You also faced huge pressures from within, but you did it,” the Jewish Home leader stated.
Both Netanyahu and Rivlin stressed that the recent announcement would not change Israel’s commitment to peace.
Netanyahu said he “shares President Trump’s commitment to advancing peace between Israel and all of our neighbors, including the Palestinians” and added that the status quo of the city’s holy sites will not be changed.
President Rivlin stressed, “Jerusalem is not, and never will be, an obstacle to peace for those who want peace.”
Meanwhile, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas warned Wednesday evening that Trump’s announcement “will lead to wars without end.”
“By these deplorable decisions, the United States deliberately undermines all peace efforts,” he said, adding that the move “is tantamount to the United States abdicating its role as a peace mediator.”
Jerusalem, the PA leader added, was the “eternal capital of the State of Palestine.”
Gaza-based terror group Hamas said the move has “opened the gates of hell on U.S. interests in the region” and was a “flagrant aggression against the Palestinian people.”