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Netanyahu: US embassy move to Jerusalem will take place in 2018

January 17, 2018 at 11:54 am

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Brussels, Belgium on 11 December 2017 [Dursun Aydemir/Anadolu Agency]

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has said that the US will relocate their embassy to Jerusalem within the year, following President Donald Trump’s recognition of the city as the capital of Israel last month, Haaretz has reported.

Currently on an official trip to India, Netanyahu directed his comments at reporters accompanying him earlier today and said his predictions were based on a “solid assessment”.

“There are three things happening in the U.S. that never happened before,” Netanyahu said. “One is moving the US embassy. My solid assessment is that it will go much faster than you think: within a year from now.”

He then praised the US stance on Iran and the Trump Administration’s announcement that it would be cutting aid to the UN Palestinian refugee agency UNRWA.

“Secondly, there is a dramatic change vis-a-vis Iran. The president has made time [to consider a] necessary change in relation to the nuclear program. You know that this will happen. Cancelling the agreement is what he said he plans to do.”

“The third thing is to challenge UNRWA for the first time. For 70 years the organization perpetuates the Palestinian narrative and the abolition of Zionism, and this is the first time they [the Americans] challenge this. It’s good that they are doing something that is challenging this organization,” he concluded.

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The US had originally stated that the embassy move would not take place during President Trump’s term in office, due to the time needed to construct the embassy in Jerusalem. Netanyahu’s latest comments indicate that such a barrier is being overcome.

The international community has expressed concern at the US’s position on Israel since the ascendance of Donald Trump, after which it seems to have abandoned all attempts at neutrality.

The UN General Assembly condemned the US recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and instead reaffirmed its commitment to a two-state solution, with East Jerusalem as the capital of Palestine.

The UN has also discouraged the Trump Administration from cutting to aid to UNRWA. Prior to the official announcement freezing $65 million worth of aid, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said yesterday that he was “very concerned” about the possibility because the agency “is an important factor of stability.”

In response, the US has cut aid to the UN several times in the past year and has started preparing to leave its cultural arm UNESCO over the UN’s alleged anti-Israel bias.

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