In a momentous speech on Wednesday, President Donald Trump changed decades of U.S. policy by recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. The president made this historic announcement from the Diplomatic Reception Room of the White House with Vice President Mike Pence standing behind him.
“I have determined that it is time to officially recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel,” the president opened unequivocally. The president described his decision as being in “ America’s best interests” while emphasizing that this move would move the region closer to a lasting peace agreement.
“We cannot solve our problems by making the same failed assumptions and repeating the same failed strategies of the past,” the president said. “All challenges demand new approaches. My announcement today marks the beginning of a new approach to conflict between Israel and the Palestinians.”
President Trump also stated that declaring Jerusalem as the capital of Israel was the realization of his campaign promise.
“While previous presidents have made this a major campaign promise, they failed to deliver. Today, I am delivering.”
“Today, Jerusalem is the seat of the modern Israeli government. It is the home of the Israeli parliament, the Knesset, as well as the Israeli Supreme Court. It is the location of the official residences of the Prime Minister and the President. It is the headquarters of many government ministries,” President Trump said. “Today, we finally acknowledged the obvious, that Jerusalem is Israel’s capital. This is nothing more than a recognition of reality. It is also the right thing to do.”
Moving the U.S. Embassy the newly-recognized Israeli capital will not happen immediately but the president said he is ordering the State Department to begin the process.
“Consistent with the Jerusalem Embassy Act, I am also directing the State Department to begin preparations to move the American embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. This will immediately begin the process of hiring architects, engineers, and planners do that a new embassy, when completed, will be a magnificent tribute to peace.”
President Trump’s announcement was graciously received in Israel. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu agreed that it would help advance the peace process.
“The President’s decision is an important step towards peace, for there is no peace that doesn’t include Jerusalem as the capital of the State of Israel,” Prime Minister Netanyahu said in a statement.
The decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of the Jewish people was welcomed by Christians around the world. The International Christian Embassy Jerusalem (ICEJ), currently the only embassy to Israel located in Jerusalem, welcomed the president’s announcement.
“This is a long overdue step which goes to the core of the historic national identity of the Jewish people,” Dr. Jürgen Bühler, President of the ICEJ said in a statement. “Jerusalem holds great historical and religious significance for billions of people of faith all around the world, and as Christians we have to acknowledge that it all began with the Jewish people and their deep spiritual attachment to this city.”We rejoice with the Jewish people that their beloved city is finally getting its due recognition.”
“We are now hopeful other nations will quickly follow the bold lead of US President Donald Trump and move their embassies to this extraordinary city,” Dr. Bühler wrote. “Surely, the time has come to end the wholly undeserved diplomatic snubbing of Jerusalem.”
Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein, founder and president of the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews (The Fellowship), released a statement praising Trump’s decision.
“On behalf of The Fellowship’s millions of evangelical Christian supporters around the world, I applaud the U.S. administration’s decision today to formally recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. It is a bold, courageous move that is long overdue, and is especially significant coming from Israel’s closest ally. Both Jews and Christians around the world have prayed for this day, which rights a historic wrong by affirming to the world that Jerusalem is the eternal capital of the Jewish people.”
Pastor Silmar Coelho of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, and Reverend Hyung Eun Chi, of Seoul, South Korea, both supporters of The Fellowship’s work on behalf of Israel and the Jewish people, joined in Rabbi Eckstein’s statement.