Donald Trump and Benjamin Netanyahu after their meeting in Jerusalem, May 22, 2017
JERUSALEM (JTA) — Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu thanked President Trump for his decision to move the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem in May, to coincide with Israel’s Independence Day.
“This is a great moment for the citizens of Israel and this is an historic moment for the State of Israel. We will celebrate it together, all citizens of Israel. This will have significant and historic long-range implications,” Netanyahu said Sunday at the start of the weekly Cabinet meeting
He added: “On behalf of the entire government and people, I would like to thank President Trump for both his leadership and his friendship. President Trump, you are a great friend of the State of Israel and we all thank you.”
Netanyahu had issued a statement of thanks on Saturday night, including in a YouTube video.
Netanyahu reportedly plans to invite Trump to Israel in May for the inauguration of the new embassy.
A U.S. State Department spokesman told JTA that the Jerusalem Embassy initially will be housed in the southern Jerusalem building in Arnona neighborhood, on a compound that currently houses the consular operations of Consulate General of Jerusalem.
The Foreign Ministry of the Palestinian Authority in a statement on Saturday called the announcement of the imminent move of the embassy to Jerusalem an “aggression” and “offensive to the feelings of Arabs and Muslims.”
A Hamas spokesman called the move “provocative,” Iran’s Press TV reported. He warned “a tremendous explosion in the Middle East region, which will target the occupying Israeli regime. We are calling on all Muslim nations to confront Israel and to stop such decisions.”