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Jason Greenblatt
Photo: Idan Arbeli
US envoy: Moving embassy to Jerusalem a necessary condition for lasting peace deal
President Trump's special representative to Middle East, Jason Greenblatt, launches series of tweets ahead of embassy opening ceremony; 'More than two decades of waivers delaying the embassy move brought us no closer to a lasting peace agreement between Israel and the Palestinians,' he writes.
US envoy to the Middle East Jason Greenblatt said Monday morning that moving his country's embassy to Jerusalem was not an American departure from the commitment to achieve a lasting peace deal, but rather a necessary condition for it.

 

 

Greenblatt launched a series of tweets ahead of the official US Embassy opening on Monday afternoon, in which he reviewed the diplomatic relations between Israel and the United States in the past 70 years.

 

"As we begin this historic day, let's remember why we are here and how we got here," he wrote.

 

Greenblatt. 'Jerusalem is the heart of three great religions' (Photo: EPA)
Greenblatt. 'Jerusalem is the heart of three great religions' (Photo: EPA)

 

The American envoy mentioned the bipartisan 1995 Jerusalem Embassy Act urging the move, which was reaffirmed by the Senate unanimously in 2017. "More than two decades of waivers delaying the embassy move brought us no closer to a lasting peace agreement between Israel and the Palestinians," he wrote.

 

Greenblatt noted that the US, under President Harry Truman, became the first nation to recognize the State of Israel 70 years ago.

 

US delegation arrives in Israel (Video: Ziv Sokolov)    (צילום: זיו סוקולוב)

US delegation arrives in Israel (Video: Ziv Sokolov)

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He reiterated US President Donald Trump's statement that recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel is simply a recognition of reality, as all Israeli government symbols are located in the city.

 

Greenblatt said that "taking the long-overdue step of moving our embassy is not a departure from our strong commitment to facilitate a lasting peace deal. Rather, it is a necessary condition for it."

 

He added that the US continues to support preserving the status quo at holy sites. "Jerusalem is the heart of three great religions, as well as the capital of one of the most successful democracies in the world. It is, and must remain, a city in which Jews pray at the Western Wall, Christians walk the Stations of the Cross, and Muslims worship at Al-Aqsa."

 

Meanwhile Monday, US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman said during a special event hosted by the Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America (OU) that the world's nations were returning to Jerusalem, led by Israel's greatest friend—the United States.

 

US Ambassador David Friedman. 'The world's nations are returning to Jerusalem'  (Photo: Ohad Zwigenberg)
US Ambassador David Friedman. 'The world's nations are returning to Jerusalem' (Photo: Ohad Zwigenberg)

 

According to Friedman, "President Trump's biggest applaud line these days is about relocating the embassy. It's the most popular thing he's done and the encouragement from all the American community is more than heartwarming. We have waited for this for 70 years."

 

Video courtesy of OU    (באדיבות: OU)

Video courtesy of OU

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The ambassador added that many people deserve credit for the move, but said that "all that's happening today wouldn’t have happened without the courage, the vision, the strength and the moral clarity of President Donald Trump."

 

Secretary of Treasury Steve Mnuchin said during the event, "This is a day I will always remember. President Trump is moving the embassy because it is a security priority to have the embassy here in Jerusalem."

 

Secretary of Treasury Steve Mnuchin (Photo: Ohad Zwigenberg)
Secretary of Treasury Steve Mnuchin (Photo: Ohad Zwigenberg)

 

Education Minister Naftali Bennett said, "Everyone is feeling history in the making. Jerusalem is here to stay. It used to be land for peace. The new formula is peace for peace."

 

Education Minister Bennett. 'Everyone is feeling history in the making' (Photo: Ohad Zwigenberg)
Education Minister Bennett. 'Everyone is feeling history in the making' (Photo: Ohad Zwigenberg)

 

Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked said, "The people of Israel are proud and excited, together with Jews all over the world. This is an essential step for Israel's international status." She praised the "determination and courage" of President Trump.

 

The US Embassy inauguration ceremony at Jerusalem's Arnona neighborhood will kick off at 4 pm Monday. The American delegation to the event includes some 250 participants and is led by Secretary of the Treasury Steve Mnuchin and President Trump's daughter Ivanka and her husband Jared Kushner, the president's senior advisor. The event will include speeches by President Reuven Rivlin and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

 

Yael Friedson contributed to this report.

 


First published: 05.14.18, 10:32
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