(VIDEOS IN EXTENDED ARTICLE)
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu spoke to the crowd gathered to welcome the U.S. delegation to Israel at the Foreign Ministry offices in Jerusalem on Sunday night and said: “The historic decision by President Donlad Trump to move the U.S. Eembassy to Jerusalem, ratifies one simple fact: The Jerusalem has been the capital of the Jewish nation for the past 3,000 years andof our country for the past seven decades. The city will continue to be our capital for now and forever.
Netanyahu spoke in front of dozens of diplomats from different countries as well as the delegation from the U.S. and various gathered V.I.P.s. “There are no better supporters of Israel, anywhere on the planet than in the United States. This is the great moment in which President Trump will make history. Our nation will be thankful forevermore for his brave decision to move the embassy. How does one recognize a true leader? By seeing if that person has followers. I wish to also thank the leaders of Guatemala and Paraguay who are opening their embassies in Jerusalem a few days after the U.S.
Making a cultural reference in light of Israel’s victory at the Eurovision song contest on Motzei Shabbos, Netanyahu took a dig at the BDS movement. “The people who didn’ want Israel participating in the Eurovision song contest, will now have to come to Jerusalem nxt year to participate in it themselves.”
“Peace is built upon truth. The truth is that Jerusalem has always been our capital and will continue tobe so forever. To achieve truth, one also must struggle with those who hate truth. We must struggle with Iran, the greatest sponsor of global terrorism. To do so will be good for the region and will be good for the world. Those of us here in the capitals of the Middle East, in Jerusalem, in Riyadh and others, we saw the destructive results of the Iranian nuclear agreement. So when President Trump decided to back out of the deal, to pull back, we know that he is doing what is right for this region, for the U.S. and for the world.”
Earlier in the day, Netanyahu met with President Trump’s Son-in-law and senior adviser in Jared Kushner. Kushner arrived, along with his wife Ivanka Trump, ahead of the ceremony at the Foregin Ministry. Details of the meeting were not released.
Secretary of the Treasury for the U.S. Steven Mnuchin spoke after Netanyahu and said: “This is an historic moment in the relationship between the United States and Israel. It symbolizes the continuing friendship between our two countries. It is only fitting that this move takes places when Israel is celebrating its 70th birthday. We are celebrating 70 years of freedom and democracy. In 1995, Congress passed a law mandating the move of the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem, a law that had the support of both parties. Over the past 20 years, however, that promise had not been fulfilled. President Trump promised to fulfill that promise, and as a sign of his leadership we are here today to do so.”
It did not go unnoticed that the majority of the diplomats and Ambassadors from the European Union boycotted the event. Ambaasdors from EU countries who did attend were those from Austria, Hungary, Romania, and the Czech republic.
The U.S. delegation, which numbers close to 250 people, will also be on hand on Monday morning for the inauguration of the new embassy in the Arnona neighborhood of Jerusalem. It includes Republican Senators Ted Cruz and Lindsey Graham and Deputy Secretary of State John Sullivan.
The following is the text of the full remarks delivered by Netanyahu:
Dear friends, from Israel, from the United States, from around the world. This is a momentous time. President Trump is making history. We are deeply grateful and our people will be eternally grateful for his bold decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and to move the embassy there tomorrow.
Now, you are in the Foreign Ministry—I’m the Foreign Minister—and you’re coming at a time when Israel is a rising power in the world, you know, in cyber, in IT, in water, in judo, in singing.
You know what we say: Those who didn’t want Jerusalem in the Eurovision are going to get the Eurovision in Jerusalem. Next year in Jerusalem.
Well, that’s next year, but tomorrow will be a historic day for our people and for our state. President Trump’s decision to move the embassy to Jerusalem affirms a great and simple truth: Jerusalem has been the capital of the Jewish people for the past three thousand years. It’s been the capital of our state for the past 70 years. It will remain our capital for all time.
Thank you President Trump for your bold decision, thank you for making the alliance between Israel and the United States stronger than ever.
Now, you know how you recognize real leadership? It’s when others follow, and others are following in President Trump’s footsteps.
I thank Guatemala’s Foreign Minister, who is here, Sandra Jovel, who has joined us today. We will open your embassy two days from tomorrow. Thank you.
I thank the President of Paraguay and the incoming President of Paraguay, because they’ll open their embassy a few days after that. And other nations are in the process of doing exactly that.
That’s a state secret, and we don’t reveal our state secrets. Sometimes we reveal other’s state secrets. We’ll let you know as time comes.
I call on all countries to join the US in moving their embassies to Jerusalem. Move your embassies to Jerusalem because it’s the right thing to do. And move your embassies to Jerusalem—listen to this: Move your embassies to Jerusalem because it advances peace, and that’s because you can’t base peace on a foundation of lies. You base peace on the foundations of truth, and the truth is that not only has Jerusalem been the capital of the Jewish people for millennia and the capital of our state from its inception, the truth is that under any peace agreement you could possibly imagine, Jerusalem will remain Israel’s capital.
It took President Trump, a President Trump to enunciate this simple, basic truth. And once enunciated, that truth will propagate. So I expect—you can call me, all the ambassadors who are here and afterwards, you can whisper in my ear, we’ll fix it. But it will happen.
And to achieve peace, we have to do one other thing: We must confront the enemies of peace, and I thank President Trump for his decision to confront Iran rather than to appease it. Pulling out of the nuclear deal means that the world’s greater sponsor of terrorism, greatest sponsor of terrorism, is no longer on a glide-path to attaining an arsenal of nuclear weapons. This is good for Israel, this is good for the region, it’s good for the world.
Now, I have something to say to part of the world: With all due respect to those sitting in European capitals, we here in the capitals of the Middle East—in Jerusalem, in Riyadh and elsewhere—we’ve seen the disastrous consequences of the Iran deal. And so when President Trump decides to pull out of this deal, to walk away from it, we know that when he walks away from a bad deal, he’s doing a good thing for our region, for the United States and for the world.
And this is what I’ve just discussed with the American delegation. I welcome Deputy Secretary Sullivan, Secretary Mnuchin, Jason Greenblatt, Ambassador David Friedman, who I mentioned before, and of course a special welcome to Jared Kushner and his wife Ivanka.
I’ve known Jared for 105 years, and there’s a special bond between our families, but I think the fact that you and Ivanka are here is a special, personal testament, but also a national and international statement. It is one that touches our hearts, and we are all delighted by your presence at any time, at any day, but especially on this day. Thank you.
We value all of your friendships, all of you for coming here on this historic occasion. Thank you for standing up with Israel. Thank you for standing up for the truth. Thank you for standing up for Jerusalem. Thank you for coming here from all over the world.
We are celebrating a momentous day. Happy birthday Jerusalem.
Thank you all.”
(YWN Israel Desk – Jerusalem)