Netanyahu: More countries plan to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital

Netanyahu lauded Trump’s decision explaining that he had earned himself “an eternal role” in Jerusalem’s history and the annals of the Jewish people.

December 7, 2017 14:09
3 minute read.
Netanyahu: More countries plan to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital

US President Donald Trump meets with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in New York, US, September 18, 2017.. (photo credit: REUTERS)


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Israel is talking with more countries about recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Thursday.

His announcement comes as the UN Security Council in New York prepares to hold a meeting in New York to discuss US President Donald Trump’s decision Wednesday to officially recognize Jerusalem and move the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

"I would like to announce that we are already in contact with other countries which will issue a similar recognition," Netanyahu said at the Foreign Ministry’s Digital Diplomacy Conference in Jerusalem.

He lauded Trump’s decision explaining that he had earned himself “an eternal role” in Jerusalem’s history and the annals of the Jewish people.

“Yesterday was a momentous day, an important one,” Netanyahu said. “Jerusalem has an extraordinary history and over the millennium, you can cite a few significant milestones, yesterday’s statement by President Trump is such a milestone.”

Netanyahu added he had no doubt that once the US embassy is relocated to Jerusalem and even before, other countries would follow suit.

Trump made history on Wednesday when he recognized that Jerusalem was Israel's capital, almost 70 years after the United States voted in the United Nations to accept Israel as a member state.

But until this year, no country recognized Jerusalem as the country’s capital and none of them have embassies in the city, which is Israel’s seat of government, even though their leaders and diplomats frequently visit and hold meetings in Jerusalem.

In the spring, Russia became the first country to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, but limited that recognition to the western part of the city.

On Wednesday night, in an unusual move, the Czech Republic broke ranks with the European Union which prefers to act as a bloc, and issued a similar endorsement. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu praises 'historic' Trump decision on Jerusalem

“The Czech Republic currently, before the peace between Israel and Palestine is signed, recognizes Jerusalem to be in fact the capital of Israel in the borders of the demarcation line from 1967,” the Czech Foreign Ministry said on its web page.

“The Czech Republic together with other EU member states, following the EU Foreign Affairs Council Conclusions, considers Jerusalem to be future capital of both states, meaning the State of Israel and the future State of Palestine,” it said. 

But relocating  the embassy could occur “only based on results of negotiations with key partners in the region and in the world,” the Czech Foreign Ministry said.

Trump also did not mean his endorsement to include all portions of the city, but he refrained from limiting it to the ceasefire line from the Six Day War.

From the country’s creation in 1948 until the Six Day War in June 1967, Jerusalem was a divided city, with Jordan controlling the eastern section.

The entire city has been in Israel’s hands since the Six Day War, but the international community, including the US, does not recognize Israel’s annexation of east Jerusalem.

The status of Jerusalem is one of the core issues that is expected to be resolved in a final status agreement for a two-state solution.

The Palestinians hold that east Jerusalem is the capital of their future state.

The EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini said Trump’s decision was harmful to the peace process, a statement which was endorsed by the United Kingdom, France, Italy and Germany.

France, Bolivia, Egypt, Italy, Senegal, Sweden, Britain and Uruguay, have asked UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres to publicly brief the Security Council on the issue this Friday.

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