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Netanyahu: More Embassies Might Move To Jerusalem

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Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has commended U.S. President Donald Trump's decision to officially recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital, asserting that more countries could follow suit. More than 120 members of the United Nations have condemned the Trump administration for the diplomatic move.

On Dec. 22, Netanyahu signaled that there are ongoing negotiations for more countries to join the U.S. in relocating their embassies in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

"We're now talking to several countries who are seriously considering saying exactly the same thing as the United States and moving their embassies to Jerusalem," Netanyahu told CNN.

On Dec. 6, Trump declared from the White House that the U.S. would recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital and would relocate its embassy to the religiously-significant city. The announcement was met with widespread criticism from U.S. allies.

Meanwhile, Netanyahu applauded the decision.

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"I think what it does is finally recognize a historical truth..." said Netanyahu "...It's about time that the U.S. said, and I'm glad they said, 'This is the capital and we recognize it,' and I think that's going to be followed by other countries."

Jerusalem contains sites that Christianity, Islam and Judaism consider sacred. In 1967, Israel gained control of East Jerusalem, a portion of the city that Palestinians have aspired to make their capital. The international community has not recognized Israel's sovereignty over the region, according to BBC News.

Since 1995, U.S. presidents had signed waivers delaying the relocation of the American embassy in Israel to Jerusalem as a way to remain neutral over the conflict. The global position has been that sovereignty over East Jerusalem would be negotiated in a two-state solution between Israel and Palestine.

On Dec. 22, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas said Trump's decision to side with Israel over Jerusalem had broken his trust, adding that he would not accept any peace plan Americans propose.

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"The United States has proven to be a dishonest mediator in the peace process and we will no longer accept any plan from the United States," Abbas said during a press conference in Paris.

On Dec. 21, the UN General Assembly denounced Trump's decision to relocate the U.S. embassy by a vote of 128 to 9, with 35 abstentions, The New York Times reports.

U.S. ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley said American relations would sour toward the countries that voted to condemn Trump's decision, including several key U.S. allies.

"We will remember it when we are called upon once again to make the world's largest contribution to the United Nations," said Haley.

Senior fellow Stewart M. Patrick of the Council on Foreign Relations asserted that Trump's decision had irrevocably damaged U.S. standing in the world.

"I think this was a significantly self-inflicted wound and really unnecessary, clumsy diplomacy on the part of the United States," Patrick said. "In this case what you had was the Trump administration basically changing the rules of the game that the international community had accepted."

Sources: BBCCNN, The New York Times / Featured Image: U.S. Department of State/Flickr / Embedded Images: U.S. Embassy Tel Aviv/Flickr, Berthold Werner/Wikimedia Commons

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