10th December, 2017
Israel’s prime minister has said Palestinians must “get to grips with” the reality that Jerusalem is Israel’s capital in order to move towards peace.
Benjamin Netanyahu said Jerusalem had been the capital of Israel for 3,000 years and had “never been the capital of any other people”.
He spoke amid ongoing protests in the Muslim and Arab world at a US decision recognising Jerusalem as the capital.
Violence flared near the US embassy in Lebanon and elsewhere on Sunday.
Speaking in Paris after talks with French President Emmanuel Macron, Mr Netanyahu said efforts to deny the “millennial connection of the Jewish people to Jerusalem” were “absurd”.
“You can read it in a very fine book – it’s called the Bible,” he said. “You can read it after the Bible. You can hear it in the history of Jewish communities throughout our diaspora… Where else is the capital of Israel, but in Jerusalem?
“The sooner the Palestinians come to grips with this reality, the sooner we will move towards peace.”
There has been widespread condemnation of President Donald Trump’s decision – announced on Wednesday – to reverse decades of US neutrality on the status of Jerusalem which cuts to the heart of the ongoing conflict between Israel and the Palestinians.
The city is home to key religious sites sacred to Judaism, Islam and Christianity, especially in East Jerusalem.
Israel has always regarded Jerusalem as its capital, while the Palestinians claim East Jerusalem – occupied by Israel in the 1967 war – as the capital of a future Palestinian state.