By ALAN SMASON
Amidst a sea of friendly faces, representatives of the Trump administration formally dedicated the site of the new United States Embassy in Jerusalem on the anniversary of the date Israel declared its independence in 1948.
“The United States recognizes the sensitivity surrounding Jerusalem, a city that means so much to so many,” said Jared Kushner, the special American peace envoy and son-in-law of President Donald Trump.
Kushner alluded to protests along the Israeli border with Gaza in which 37 had reportedly been killed. “Those provoking violence are part of the problem and not the solution,” he said.
Kushner spoke after a video message from the President, who affirmed his campaign promise to move the embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.
With the passage of the Jerusalem Embassy Act in 1995, Congress authorized moving the location of its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. However, every President from Clinton to George W. Bush to Barack Obama had postponed that action until President Trump last December, saying it was a way to honor its promises and to advance the stagnant peace process.
“The pursuit of peace is the noblest pursuit of humankind,” Kushner continued. “I believe peace is within reach if we dare to believe that the future can be different from the past, that we are not condemned to relieve history and that the way things were is not how that must forever be. It will not be an easy road and it will be filled with tough and difficult decisions, but if we dream big – if we lead with courage – we can change the trajectory for millions from hopeless to boundless.”
Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was jubilant. “Dear Friends, what a glorious day,” he began his remarks. “Remember this moment. This is history. President Trump, by recognizing history, you have made history. All of us are deeply moved. All of us are deeply grateful.”
Netanyahu praised the American delegation and their families who had assembled to witness the dedication amongst pomp and ceremony. Among the dignitaries present were U.S. Ambassador to Israel, David Friedman, Secretary of the Treasury Steven Mnuchin, several U.S. Senators and Representatives, peace broker Jason Greenblatt, Kushner’s wife, Ivanka Trump, and most of the Israeli Knesset.
“This is a great day for Israel. It’s a great day for America,” he said. “It’s a great day for our fantastic partnership, but I believe it’s also a great day for peace.”
On a personal note, Netanyahu recalled how the very spot the embassy resides upon was formerly forbidden access to him and his fellow Jews when he was a small boy. He referred to the historical connection of Jerusalem to the Jewish people as an immutable truth.
“The truth and peace are interconnected,” the prime minister continued. “A peace that is built on lies will crash on the rocks of Middle Eastern realities. You can only build peace on truth and the truth is that Jerusalem has been and will always be the capital of the Jewish people, the capital of the Jewish State.”
Netanyahu quoted from Zechariah 8:3: “‘I will return to Zion and I will dwell in the midst of Jerusalem and Jerusalem shall be called the city of truth,'” he noted.
“May the opening of this embassy in this city spread the truth far and wide and may the truth advance a lasting peace between Israel and all our neighbors,” he concluded. “God bless the United States of America and God bless Jerusalem, the eternal, undivided capital of Israel.”