Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu addressed the Knesset on Wednesday in honor of Jerusalem Day, which this year marks 50 years to Israel's control over the city and said U.S. President Donald Trump's visit to the Western Wall proved the Jewish people's connection to the city and holy site.
"I told Trump that his visit to the Western Wall dispels all of UNESCO lies," Netanyahu continued, one day after U.S. President Donald Trump addressed Israel, referring to motions by the UN agency that sought to disregard Jewish ties to the Temple Mount.
"The Temple Mount and the Western Wall will remain forever under Israeli sovereignty," Netanyahu said, "the historical achievement will stand forever."
Addressing the issue of the potential relocation of the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem, Netanyahu said that "Jerusalem should be home to all the embassies, including the American embassy."
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"We liberated Jerusalem and turned it into a city that is not perfect but it is united. It respects the different faiths." Netanyahu said at the begining.
"We are the ones who redeemed Jerusalem from neglect and distress. We are the ones who brought it to a peak in its development. What was here in Jerusalem? Almost nothing. In the 19th century was there an advanced kingdom or a vibrant Palestinian capital? It is necessary to tell the truth that Jerusalem, like the entire Land of Israel, was a marginal and desolate province in the Ottoman Empire."
Answering comments made by the head of Israel's opposition, Netanyahu said "Why isn’t there peace? Why [you ask]? Yesterday I said something after the horrible incident in Manchester, and I was criticized: 'How dare you talk [about incitment]? On this day too you are speaking about the Palestinian Authority?'
"I want peace. I want to say the truth – you cannot talk about those nurturing terror in Manchester, but not say anything about those who are nurturing terrorists in West Bank."
In the West Bank, Netanyahu claimed, the family of the suicide bomber would have received a pay check from the Palestinian Authority.
"The issue is their unwillingness to accept the Jewish people and their presence in Jerusalem. We will continue to develop and build in Jerusalem."
Opposition leader Isaac Herzog responded saying that even though 70 years had passed since the establishment of the State of Israel, Israeli prime ministers had still failed to move any embassies to Jerusalem.
Trump in Jerusalem
At the Israel Museum on Tuesday, Trump spoke before about 200 people including Netanyahu, government ministers and Knesset members from both the governing coalition and opposition. Also invited were several of Trump’s friends, associates and contributors headed by Netanyahu patron Sheldon Adelson, the U.S. casino magnate and owner of the Israel Hayom daily.
“As I have repeatedly said, I am personally committed to helping Israelis and Palestinians achieve a peace agreement, and I had a meeting this morning with President Abbas and can tell you that the Palestinians are ready to reach for peace,” he said. “I know you’ve heard it before. I am telling you that’s what I do. They are ready to reach for peace.”
He also discussed the connection between the Jews and Israel, saying that “the ties of the Jewish people to this Holy Land are ancient and eternal. They date back thousands of years, including the reign of King David.”
As he put it, “I call upon all people – Jews, Christians, Muslims,– to draw inspiration from this ancient city, and to give all children the freedom and hope and dignity.”
Trump spoke about his visit to the Western Wall, the Church of the Holy Sepulchre and Yad Vashem.
“Down through the ages, the Jewish people have suffered persecution, oppression and even those who have sought their destruction,” he said. “But, through it all, they have endured – and they have thrived. Israel is a testament to the unbreakable spirit of the Jewish people. I stand in awe of the accomplishments of the Jewish people, and I make this promise to you: My administration will always stand with Israel.”
He said the conflict would not last forever. “I am personally committed to helping Israelis and Palestinians reach that mutual commitment comprehensive peace agreement,” he said, adding that both the Palestinians and Netanyahu want peace.
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