Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday called on world leaders to follow the United States and relocate their embassies to Jerusalem.
Speaking during a reception of a U.S. diplomatic delegation in Jerusalem, Netanyahu thanked the United States for the relocation, which will take place on Monday.
“There is no greater supporter of Israel on the earth,” he said. “We are eternally grateful.”
He called on other countries to follow the U.S. move, saying that “in any peace that you could possibly imagine, Jerusalem will remain as Israel’s capital.”
He also thanked the leaders of Guatemala and Paraguay for their decisions to move their embassies to Jerusalem.
According to Netanyahu, other countries are expected to announce similar decisions soon. “We will not say whom because that is a state secret,” he said.
The delegation is led by U.S. President Donald Trump’s daughter Ivanka, his senior adviser and son-in-law Jared Kushner, and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin.
U.S. Deputy Secretary of State John J. Sullivan said at the welcoming ceremony that Trump’s decision to relocate the embassy was “essential to creating a roadmap for peace in the region.”
A total of 86 foreign ambassadors in Israel were invited to the opening ceremony of the U.S. embassy in Jerusalem on Monday, while 40 of them accepted the invitation.
Four European countries – Austria, Czech Republic, Romania, and Hungary – have confirmed their participation in the U.S. move while the European Union opposes the relocation.
Thousands of police officers were deployed throughout Jerusalem over fear of Palestinian protests and riots. Additionally, Police officers will stand in “human wall” between the neighborhood of Arnona, where the new embassy is located, and the Palestinian Sur Baher.
Israel seized East Jerusalem, together with the rest of the West Bank and Gaza Strip, in the 1967 Middle East war. It annexed East Jerusalem shortly later, claiming it as part of its “indivisible capital,” in a move which was never recognized internationally.
On Dec. 16, 2017, Trump recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, a move that triggered escalating tension and a wave of outcry in the region.
The Palestinians want East Jerusalem as the capital of their future state. Following Trump’s move, they said the United States cannot be considered as a fair peace broker in the Middle East. Enditem