Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu described US President Donald Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital as an “historic day” and a “landmark in the history of Jerusalem.”
In a video statement released minutes after Trump gave a televised address, Netanyahu said: “This is an historic day. President Trump’s declaration is an important landmark in the history of Jerusalem.
Jerusalem has been our capital for 3,000 years. Our forefathers walked here, the Holy Temple stood here, the Kings of Israel ruled here, the prophets spoke their prophecies here. For thousands of years, generations of Jews prayed “Next year in Jerusalem!”. By the rivers of Babylon and on the walls of the Warsaw Ghetto, generation after generation cried and dreamt of Zion.
70 years ago we realised our prayers and our dreams when we once again declared Jerusalem to be the capital of the Jewish state. Now, President Trump’s historic declaration recognises that principle.
Mr President, we thank you for this just, brave decision to recognise Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and to begin preparations to move the US embassy here. I call on other countries to follow the United States’ lead.
President Trump’s declaration will aid efforts to push forward the peace process because it returns everybody to the solid ground of reality. And the simple truth is this: There will be no peace without recognising Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.
And to our neighborhors, let me add: we will continue to preserve the status quo in Jerusalem and at the Temple Mount, and freedom of religion for all faiths. We continue to hold our hand out in peace to the Palestinians, and to all our neighbours.
Mr President, history and the Jewish people will always remember you for the brave decision you made today. Thank you.”
President Reuven Rivlin said following the declaration: President Rivlin said, “I congratulate President Donald Trump on his announcement of US recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, and on the expected move of the American Embassy to Jerusalem. There is no more fitting or beautiful gift, as we approach 70 years of the State of Israel’s independence.”
President Rivlin stressed, “Jerusalem is not, and never will be, an obstacle to peace for those who want peace. As it is written, ‘Pray for the peace of Jerusalem, may all that love her prosper, may there be peace in her quarters and palaces’.”
Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat added, “President Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel is a historic declaration that sends a clear message to the entire world that the United States stands with the Jewish people, the State of Israel and Jerusalem. As a gesture and expression of the courageous friendship between the American people and the people of Israel, we decided to illuminate the walls of the Old City with the colors of the American and Israeli flags. The Old City, the Western Wall and the Temple Mount symbolize the strength and connection of the Jewish people to Jerusalem for over 3,000 years.
Left-wing Israelis were predictably less enthusiastic. Meretz leader Zehava Gal-On said “The meaning of Trump’s declaration is American recognition of the annexation of East Jerusalem and the Old City. Such a declaration is certainly not helpful for a regional move for peace, since any solution will require a compromise on sovereignty in Jerusalem. But such a move will certainly give a tailwind to the lunatic right in Israel. “
MK Ayman Odeh, the chairman of the Joint Arab List added that Trump had “thrown a match on the Middle East powder keg” and accused Trump of being indifferent to the implications of his decision.
“Trump the misanthrope does not care about the fate of Israelis and certainly not about the fate of Palestinians. His speech tonight was a combination of ignorance and arrogance… Trump has thrown a match on the Middle East and the price will be paid by the two peoples,” Odeh said.