US Ambassador David Friedman at the knesset.
(photo credit: MATTY STERN, US EMBASSY TEL AVIV)
US President Donald Trump’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital exactly a year ago has resonated throughout the world and has led to enhanced respect both for Israel and the United States, US ambassador David Friedman said on Thursday.
Friedman, at a Hanukkah candle lighting ceremony at the Western Wall with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, said Trump’s decision – made on December 6, 2017, and followed up in May with the move of the embassy – showed the world that the US “stands with its allies” and “does not flinch from its enemies.”
In addition, he said, the move showed that the US “no longer embraces a policy born of wishful thinking, but rather follows a policy based upon truth.”
Friedman added that many parts of the world now see Israel through a new lens as well, “as diplomatic and strategic relationships that were unthinkable a decade ago are emerging in Africa, Asia, the Middle East, South America and elsewhere.”
Friedman asserted that Trump’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital was the “most significant political victory since the recognition of the State of Israel by president Harry Truman on May 14, 1948.”
Today, Friedman said, “we celebrate the president’s courageous act, we celebrate the festival of Hanukkah, and we celebrate the city of Jerusalem, which under Israeli sovereignty has become – perhaps for the first time in its long history – an open city in which all religions may come to worship in peace.”
Netanyahu said that Trump recognized a historical truth, and termed his decision last year “historic.”
“It is impossible to promote peace on the basis of lies,” Netanyahu said. “Truth is the basis for everything; it is the basis for peace.”
In a related development, Jerusalem Affairs Minister Ze’ev Elkin said that Israel is currently in talks with 10 countries about moving their embassies to Jerusalem. In an interview with the Russian news Agency Ria Novosti, Elkin said that among those countries were some former members of the Soviet Union.
“This does not mean that these countries already made a decision, it means that they are in contact with us on one level of intensity or another. Last December, Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely also said that Israel was in contact with 10 countries about moving their embassies. But so far, only Guatemala has followed Washington’s lead and relocated its embassy to the capital,” Elkin said.
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