In mid-May the United States lived up to its
two-decade long legally binding decision, and finally opened its embassy in the capital of Israel, Jerusalem. The move came five months after President Donald Trump officially announced his recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, a follow up to a campaign pledge in 2016.
Things have come full circle for the two countries: America is the first nation to host its embassy in Jerusalem; and
President Harry Truman was the first statesman to recognize the newly-formed State of Israel in 1947.
In his video address for the occasion, President Trump said that “for many years we failed to acknowledge the obvious: the plain reality that Israel’s capital is Jerusalem… We follow through on this recognition and open our embassy in the historic and sacred land of Jerusalem.”
At the same time, President Trump said, the desire for a lasting and just peace remains.
During his speech at the Israel Museum on May 23, 2017 President Trump declared, “Israel is a testament to the unbreakable spirit of the Jewish people.”
At the opening ceremony for the dedication of the new US embassy the president’s son-in-law and advisor Jared Kushner said that the move “demonstrates American leadership,” because “we have shown once again that the United States can be trusted… and do what’s right.”
Furthermore, this move “strengthens the bond between the two countries.” Kushner added that “when we stand together in the values we share, we shine a light of justice into the world.”
“The US stands with Israel because we both believe in freedom. We stand together because we both believe in human rights.
We stand together because we both believe that democracy is worth defending. And the US stands with Israel because we know that it’s the right thing to do,”Kushner said.
Meanwhile, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called the opening of the embassy “courageous,” a “glorious day,”
A Historic Day
“President Trump, by recognizing history, you have made history. All of us are deeply moved. All of us are deeply grateful,” said Netanyahu, who also stressed the deep ties the Jewish people have to Israel. Netanyahu mentioned King David, who declared Jerusalem as the capital of the Jewish kingdom. Netanyahu also recalled when Israeli Defense Forces reclaimed the Western Wall in 1967.
“We have no better friends in the world. You stand for Israel and you stand for Jerusalem. Thank you!” exclaimed Netanyahu. “We are in Jerusalem, and we are here to stay!”
“We gather here today to celebrate another historic day in the life of this city, which I know will take its place alongside other momentous decisions in the history of our people,” Netanyahu said. “Thank you, President Trump, and thank you all, for making the alliance between America and Israel stronger thanever.”
Israel’s President Reuven Rivlin expressed his appreciation to both Republicans and Democrats for their longstanding support of Israel.
“Every US president has promised to move the American embassy to Jerusalem. Finally, we have a leader who promised this, and also kept his promise,” said Rivlin, to a standing ovation.
“The Israeli people thank you for keeping your word, for your courage, for your determination and for your firm, unwavering stance alongside the State of Israel,” Rivlin continued.
“We hope and expect that other nations will follow your path and your leadership.”
Even though many critics heaped scorn on the president for what they call a “divisive” and “unbalanced” stand on the embassy decision, one notable political opponent did support Trump’s decision. Democrat Minority Leader Chuck Schumer offered the president rare praise.
“In a long overdue move, we have moved our embassy to Jerusalem. Every nation should have the right to choose its capital. I sponsored legislation to do this two decades ago, and I applaud President Trump for doing it,” Schumer said in a released statement. (Democrats reportedly were absent from the Jerusalem embassy opening.)
In addition, the former Democrat senator from Connecticut, Joe Lieberman, who attended the ceremony, told the Jerusalem Post that Trump “just gave it a fresh look and said, ‘Well, why aren’t we recognizing Jerusalem? After all, Israel is our closest ally. Why are we timid about saying what is obviously true?’”
The former vice-presidential candidate, having served nearly a quarter century as a senator, said that the decision reflected upon Trump the idea that this was “a show of both personal and national strength: that both he and the US do what they think is right.”