Netanyahu beams: 'Israel's national historical identity is recognized today'
AP Photo/Sebastian Scheiner, File
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu proudly declared Wednesday that his country’s “national historical identity is receiving important recognition, especially today,” in his first comments on an imminently expected announcement by United States President Donald Trump recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.
Netanyahu’s remarks came in a Hebrew-language Facebook video after his appearance at a diplomatic conference organized by The Jerusalem Post newspaper. Netanyahu had been widely expected to use the platform to comment on the plan, but refrained from doing so, focusing instead on Israel's security and economic ties with countries globally.
Israel has long sought global recognition of its claim on Jerusalem, and lawmakers from across the country’s political spectrum reacted to the White House’s confirmation of the plan late Tuesday jubilantly.
Speaking before Netanyahu at Wednesday’s conference, Education Minister Naftali Bennett called on other countries to follow the US and recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, while chairman of the centrist Yesh Atid faction called moving the American embassy to the holy city “the right thing to do.”
"The United States is adding another brick to the walls of Jerusalem, to the foundation of the Jewish nation," Bennett, who chairs the far-right Jewish Home party, said.
Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked, also of Jewish Home, said: "I think it is a victory of the American people and the American spirit."
Intelligence and Transport Minister Yisrael Katz, of Netanyahu's right-wing Likud party, said Trump's decision to recognise Jerusalem means "this is an historic day".
"Whoever does not recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel does not recognize the right of Israel to exist as a Jewish state," he said. "We expect the international community to support President Trump's decision."
Agriculture Minister Uri Ariel of the right-wing Jewish Home party lauded the move as ushering in “a new day, a new reality we have waited for 70 years.”
Netanyahu and his aides were said to have been instrumental in the lead-up to Trump’s landmark decision. Israel's Hadashot TV (formerly Channel 2) reported Tuesday that Netanyahu’s team were "active partners" working in "total coordination" with the Trump administration "encouraging, supporting, [and] reassuring" them about the likely fallout from the decision.
Channel 10 carried a similar report, tipping Israel's US ambassador Ron Dermer as a key player in the plan.
The report said that Netanyahu and Dermer succeeded in convincing Trump to accept Israel's argument that the issue of Jerusalem's recognition and the issue of the peace process could be separated.
The Palestinians, meanwhile, were kept almost totally in the dark with regards to the US and Israeli scheming the reports said.
The Palestinians fiercely oppose the move and have called for three "days of rage" to protest against it.
(Staff with agencies)
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