On 70th anniversary, Trump says US has ‘no better friends anywhere’ than Israel

On 70th anniversary, Trump says US has ‘no better friends anywhere’ than Israel

WASHINGTON — The United States has “no better friends anywhere” than Israel, US President Donald Trump said Wednesday while congratulating Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Israelis on the country’s 70th anniversary.

“Best wishes to Prime Minister  and all of the people of Israel on the 70th Anniversary of your Great Independence,” Trump tweeted. “We have no better friends anywhere. Looking forward to moving our Embassy to Jerusalem next month!”

On Wednesday evening, Israel began to celebrate the 70th anniversary of its founding on May 14, 1948. An annual tradition, Independence Day falls on Thursday, the 5th of Iyar on the Hebrew calendar.

Trump vowed to move the US embassy to the holy city last December, when he also formally recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. In January, he announced that the process would be expedited and a new facility would open in May, deliberately coinciding with Israel’s birthday.

A ribbon-cutting ceremony is being planned for mid-May. Trump has, as yet, not committed to attending the inauguration. The Times of Israel has learned that his senior adviser and son-in-law Jared Kushner, and Kushner’s wife, White House adviser Ivanka Trump, are considering traveling to Israel next month to attend.

The Palestinians have seen the move as a provocation, and have said it effectively negates the possibility of the Trump administration serving as an honest broker in peace talks. Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and other PA officials have since refused to meet with anyone on Trump’s team.

On Monday, the PLO’s US envoy said the decision to “take Jerusalem off the table,” invoking the president’s frequent phrase, was more like “removing the table all together.”

Read More: Times of Israel