Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Sunday that the American embassy in Israel should be moved from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, injecting himself once again into a charged campaign trail promise of U.S. President Donald Trump.
Netanyahu’s comments at his weekly Cabinet meeting appeared aimed at countering reports that Israel was concerned about the fallout of such a move, which is vehemently opposed by the Palestinians and has sparked fears of a renewed outbreak of violence. It comes a day after Netanyahu unilaterally endorsed Trump’s call to build a wall along the Mexican border, saying the Israeli model along its border with Egypt has proven successful. Read: Bloodshed will follow if Trump moves US embassy to Jerusalem
“I would like to clarify unequivocally that our view has always been, and continues to be, that the United States’ embassy should be here in Jerusalem,” Netanyahu said. “Jerusalem is the capital of Israel and it is appropriate that not only the American embassy will be here but that all embassies will move here and I believe that in due course most will come here, to Jerusalem.”
Currently, nearly all foreign embassies are located in the coastal city of Tel Aviv because their countries have refrained from recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital until its status is resolved in future peace talks. Israel has long called for the embassies to be relocated but hasn’t pushed hard for it given the widespread international opposition.
But Trump’s rise has emboldened Israel’s nationalists. His campaign platform made no mention of a Palestinian state, a cornerstone of two decades of international diplomacy in the region, and he has signaled that he will be far more tolerant of Israeli settlement construction than his predecessors.