JERUSALEM, Israel — Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu welcomed the official U.S. delegation to Jerusalem Sunday evening, on the day before the transfer of the American embassy to Israel’s capital.
“Our people will be eternally grateful for [President Trump’s] decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and to move the American Embassy there tomorrow,” Netanyahu declared.
“Tomorrow will be an historic day for our people and for our state.”
Netanyahu delivered his remarks at an official reception at Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs before an audience of American and Israeli guests.
Among those in the audience were Israeli opposition leader Isaac Herzog; Christians United for Israel founder John Hagee, American lawyer Alan Dershowitz; new Republican National Committee finance chairman Todd Ricketts; Senators Lindsay Graham (R-SC), Ted Cruz (R-SC), Dean Heller (R-NV), and Mike Lee (R-UT); Rep. Ron DeSantis (R-FL), American Jewish Committee chair David Harris; Guatemalan Minister of Foreign Affairs Sandra Jovel Polanco; Zionist Organization of America president Morton Klein; former Israeli Ambassador to the U.S. Michael Oren; Republican donors Sheldon and Dr. Mirian Adelson; former Israeli Ambassador to the UN Dore Gold; U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman; Israeli Ambassador to the U.S. Ron Dermer; and many others.
Netanya welcomed President Trump’s decision to recognize Jerusalem and transfer the embassy there: “It’s been the capital of the Jewish people for the last 3,000 years. It’s been the capital of our state for 70 years. And it will be our capital for all time,” he said.
He also thanked Guatemalan foreign minister Polanco for her country’s decision to open its embassy in Jerusalem two days after the U.S. And he thanked the President of Paraguay, who is expected in Jerusalem later this month to open his country’s embassy as well.
“I call on all countries to join the US in moving their embassies to Jerusalem… because it’s the right thing to do… because it advances peace!” he exclaimed.
“Under any peace agreement you could possibly imagine, Jerusalem will remain Israel’s capital.
“It took a President Trump to enunciate a simple basic truth,” he said.
Netanyahu added that peace meant confronting “the enemies of truth. And I thank president Trump for his decision to confront Iran rather than to appease it.
“With all due respect to those sitting in European capitals… we’ve seen the disastrous consequences of the Iran deal.,” he said. He praised President Trump’s decision to leave the deal — “a good thing for the region, for the United States, and for the world.”
Netanyahu gave a special welcome to White House advisers Jared Kushner and his wife, Ivanka. He was sure to note Israel’s victory in the Eurovision song contest the night before, which coincided with the day’s celebration of Yom Yerushalayim (“Jerusalem Day”), the 51st anniversary of the reunification of the city in the Six Day War.
“Happy birthday Jerusalem!” he said.
He presented U.S. Ambassador Friedman with an official letter thanking him for his role in moving the embassy.
Deputy Secretary of State John J. Sullivan, official head of the U.S. delegation, thanked Netanyahu for his hospitality.
He noted that May 14, the date of the embassy opening, was the anniversary of President Harry S. Truman’s decision to recognize Israel.
And he added that the U.S. hoped the embassy move would encourage peace talks between Israel and its neighbors.
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News. He was named to Forward’s 50 “most influential” Jews in 2017. He is the co-author of How Trump Won: The Inside Story of a Revolution, which is available from Regnery. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.