PM Benjamin Netanyahu.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Politicians on the Israeli Left and center-left said Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu should take responsibility for US President Donald Trump’s decision to sign a waiver preventing the move of the US Embassy to Jerusalem Opposition leader Isaac Herzog said all the world’s embassies should be in Jerusalem.
“Unfortunately,” he added, “Netanyahu learned a lesson that there are no shortcuts and whoever wants international recognition must reach a courageous diplomatic agreement.”
Labor leadership candidate Amir Peretz said: “The prime minister and his rightwing policies cause there to be no embassies in the capital.”
He said that when his party returns to power, “the peace process will move forward and the embassies will also move.”
Meretz leader Zehava Gal-On said the move was “the right decision for the moment” and a good sign that Trump would make a serious effort to advance a peace process between Israel and the Palestinians.
“Moving the embassy could have blown up the peace process before we even knew what it would be,” said Gal-On. “West Jerusalem is Israel’s capital and it will continue to be, with or without the American embassy.
Moving the embassy, as Israel wanted, would not have strengthened our sovereignty over the city. If anything, it would have pushed more countries to recognize a Palestinian state with Jerusalem as its capital.”
Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat admitted he was disappointed but said he was sure Trump would keep his promise later on.
“We will continue to do what it takes to encourage him to move the embassy to the capital of Israel as soon as possible,” said Barkat. “We stand ready to do whatever is necessary to help the move take place.”
Likud MK Oren Hazan, who made waves by taking a selfie with Trump at Ben-Gurion Airport last week, said he was shocked to learn about the president’s decision from The Jerusalem Post.
“I don’t regret getting the selfie, but I hope this isn’t a bad omen,” Hazan said. “He still has time to change his mind and move the embassy. I hope in the future I will do a selfie with him in Jerusalem, our eternal capital.”Daniel J. Roth contributed to this report.