Netanyahu Sees ‘Many’ Nations Following U.S. Move on Yerushalayim

YERUSHALAYIM -
The American and Israeli national flags hang on the municipality building in Yerushalayim, Thursday. (Reuters/Ammar Awad)

Expect more countries to recognize Yerushalayim as Israel’s capital, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said Thursday. At a Foreign Ministry conference, Netanyahu said that in the wake of the decision by U.S. President Donald Trump to accept Yerushalayim as Israel’s capital, other countries will do so as well — and it will happen even before the American Embassy is moved from Tel Aviv to the capital. In fact, he said, Israel was already in contact with some of those countries. A report on Channel One said they include the Philippines as well as several African countries.

“We were all very deeply moved by President Trump’s historic declaration. The declaration and recognition by the president is, of course, based on our ancient rights to Yerushalayim,” Netanyahu said. “The Jewish people set Yerushalayim as their capital 3,000 years ago. Our forefathers walked here, our kings ruled here, our prophets lectured here, our roots are deeply embedded here. This is our ‘residence permit.’ President Trump has forever tied himself to the magnificent history of Yerushalayim,” as the Congress did 22 years ago when it, too, accepted Yerushalayim as Israel’s capital and passed the law requiring the U.S. to move its embassy there.

“At this opportunity I would like to say that we are already in contact with countries that will make similar announcements,” Netanyahu said. “I have no doubt that the moment the embassy is moved, and even before then, many other embassies will move to Yerushalayim. It’s about time.”

Speaking to Channel 10 Thursday, Transportation Minister Yisrael Katz said he believed that although President Trump said he had instructed the State Department to “begin the process” of moving the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to Yerushalayim without setting a deadline, he believed it would happen faster than most people expect. “In my estimation, this will be a quicker process than we are expecting. In any event, we will continue to build in Yerushalayim,” Katz said.

Earlier this year, the parliament of the Czech Republic announced that it recognized the Jewish people’s ancient ties to Yerushalayim, and in a statement Thursday, the government reiterated that position. “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,” newly appointed Czech Foreign Minister Martin Stropnický said in a statement. But he said that the Czech Republic “will be able to consider moving our embassy only after talks with countries in the region and with others in the international community,” and that “The Czech Republic together with other EU member states, following the EU Foreign Affaires Council Conclusions, considers Jerusalem to be future capital of both states, meaning the State of Israel and the future State of Palestine.”