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Jerusalem declaration is courageous: Netanyahu

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Jerusalem : Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Thursday termed as “historic” and a “courageous and just decision” the recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital by US President Donald Trump, saying that it will help “advance peace”.

He said the Jewish state would maintain status quo at the holy sites ensuring freedom of worship for Jews, Christians and Muslims alike.

“This is a historic day. It’s been the capital of Israel for nearly 70 years. Jerusalem has been the focus of our hopes, our dreams, our prayers for three millennia. It has been the capital of the Jewish people for 3,000 years. It was here that our temples stood, our kings ruled, our prophets preached”, Netanyahu said in a statement.


Hailing Trump, he said it reflects his commitment to “an ancient but enduring truth”.

“Yet today’s pronouncement by President Trump is such an occasion. We’re profoundly grateful to him for his courageous and just decision to recognise Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, and to prepare for the opening of the US embassy here. This decision reflects the President’s commitment to an ancient but enduring truth, to fulfilling his promises and to advancing peace”, the Israeli prime minister said.

Describing the US’ decision as a “new and genuine milestone” in the history of the Holy city, Netanyahu said Jews from all over the world have always wanted to return to Jerusalem, “to touch its golden stones, and to walk in its hallowed streets”. He insisted that the US announcement would help achieve “dream of peace”.

“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. I share President Trump’s commitment to advancing peace between Israel and all of our neighbours, including the Palestinians.

And we will continue to work with the President and his team to make that dream of peace come true”, he asserted.

The Israeli premier also called upon other countries to join the United States in “recognising Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and to move their embassies here”.

The status of Jerusalem, which is home to sites holy to the Muslims, Jews and Christians alike, is seen by many as the “thorniest issue” in resolving Israel-Palestinian conflict.

Addressing the concern of Muslims and Christians, Netanyahu said Israel would maintain status quo at the holy sites ensuring freedom of worship to all.

UNSC to meet today

Washington : The United Nations Security Council has convened a meeting on Friday in the wake of the US President Donald Trump announcing his decision to recognise Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

At least eight of the 15 members of the Security Council, including Britain and France -– the two permanent members which closely align themselves on most of the global issues –- joined by other non-permanent members — Bolivia, Egypt, Italy, Senegal, Sweden, Britain and Uruguay — asked for a special meeting of the top decision-making wing of the New York-headquartered world body.

The UN Secretary General António Guterres’ is expected to address the Security Council on Friday. Earlier in a statement, Guterres said that Jerusalem was the final status issue and must be resolved through direct negotiations.  “In this moment of great anxiety, I want to make it clear: there is no alternative to the two-state solution. There is no Plan B,” he said, adding that he has consistently spoken out against any unilateral measures that would “jeopardise” the prospect of peace for Israelis and Palestinians. “Jerusalem is a final status issue that must be resolved through direct negotiations between the two parties on the basis of the relevant Security Council and General Assembly resolutions, taking into account the legitimate concerns of both the Palestinian and the Israeli sides,” Guterres said.