One year after the United States moved its embassy to Jerusalem, President Donald Trump heralded the decision as a sign of the strong US-Israel relationship.
Trump referenced the anniversary in a tweet Tuesday, calling it “a proud reminder of our strong relationship with Israel and of the importance of keeping a promise and standing for the truth.”
Trump recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital on December 6, 2017 and moved the embassy into the building formerly housing the US consulate in Jerusalem on May 14, 2018. The move was timed to coincide with the English anniversary of Israel’s founding in 1948.
The decision to move the embassy, and what Trump says was a bargain-basement price he got for the building, is a fixture at his campaign rallies, where it has proven popular with his evangelical Christian base.
Today marks the one-year anniversary of the opening of the United States Embassy in Jerusalem, Israel. Our beautiful embassy stands as a proud reminder of our strong relationship with Israel and of the importance of keeping a promise and standing for the truth.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 14, 2019
The Jerusalem municipality marked the date by projecting Israeli and American flags onto the walls of the Old City.
The anniversary gave rise in the Israeli media to both celebration and articles exploring the effects of the embassy opening. Critics had predicted the move would lead to an increase in violence in the already tense region, although defenders of the move said no such backlash came about.
The most intense violence coincided with the embassy opening on the Gaza border; Gazan health officials said 60 Palestinians were killed during riots along the frontier. The Israeli military said the Hamas terror group used the protests as cover to attempt cross-border raids and attacks on troops.
The US ambassador to Israel, David Friedman, wrote in Israel Hayom that the move “places the United States firmly on the right side of history.”
“Contrary to all the negative predictions, the Jerusalem embassy has been an extraordinary success, advancing peaceful coexistence, bilateral cooperation and cultural exchange between and among Israelis, Palestinians and Americans,” Friedman said in the article published Sunday.
On Tuesday, he called the embassy a “a new shrine in the ancient city of Jerusalem,” at a party celebrating the anniversary.
The Palestinian Authority’s news agency, Wafa, meanwhile, marked the date by writing that the “Israeli army crackdown on [the Gaza] protests was as ruthless as the US decision [to move the embassy],” in an article published Tuesday.
Only Guatemala has permanently followed suit in moving its embassy to Jerusalem in the past year. Paraguay opened an embassy in the city in May, but then closed it and returned to Tel Aviv after a new president was elected.