Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called on Sunday for other countries to follow the U.S. President Donald Trump’s example and relocate their embassies to Jerusalem, calling it "the right thing to do."
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Speaking to foreign dignitaries in Jerusalem at the gala event for the relocation of the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv to the capital, Netanyahu praised Trump for his decision.
"Thank you President Trump for your bold decision, thank you for making the alliance between Israel and U.S. stronger than ever," Netanyahu said. He urged other envoys to follow suit, saying that moving their embassies to Jerusalem "advances peace."
Peace, Netanyahu said, is based on the foundations of truth, "and the truth is that not only has Jerusakem been the capital of the Jewish people for millennia and our state for decades, but the truth is that under any peace deal Jerusalem will remain Israel’s capital."
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Netanyahu also reiterated his support for the U.S. decision to pull out of the Iran nuclear deal. "With all due respect to those sitting in European capitals," the premiere stated, "we here in capitals of the Middle East, in Jerusalem and Riyadh, we have seen the disastrous consequences of the Iran deal."
Some 32 of the 86 envoys accepted the invitation to the reception Sunday evening. At least four of those attending will be from EU nations – Hungary, Czech Republic, Austria and Romania – though Brussels has strongly come out against the embassy move. The rest of the European delegates are not expected to attend, nor are representatives of Russia, Egypt or Mexico.
Netanyahu opened his remarks by addressing Israel’s victory in the 2018 Eurovision content, saying "those who didn’t want Jerusalem in the Eurovision will get Eurovision in Jerusalem next year."
John Sullivan, U.S. deputy secretary of state who spoke after Netanyahu, called the embassy move "a long overdue recognition of reality" and "essential for creating a roadmap for peace in the region."
The embassy move is slated for Monday at 4 P.M. Israel time; 800 guests received gold-edged invitations from U.S. Ambassador David Friedman and his wife Tammy. The event marks the relocation of a limited number of offices from the Tel Aviv embassy, including Friedman’s office. The event will be attended by President Reuven Rivlin and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, along with Ivanka Trump, Jared Kushner and Steve Mnuchin. Other attendees include Jason Greenblatt, Trump’s special representative for international negotiations, and members of Congress.
The Israeli army is on high alert ahead of mass Palestinian demonstrations Monday and Tuesday to protest the embassy move and to commemorate Nakba Day.