Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu welcomed US President Donald Trump's decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and to move the US embassy to the city as a "historic event."
The Israeli army announced a state of alert in Jerusalem and the West Bank to counter expected angry Palestinian reactions to the resolution.
Netanyahu published a pre-taped video that was broadcast right after Trump had finished speaking, suggesting that the Israeli leader was closely familiar with Trump’s speech content.
"This is a historic day," the Israeli PM said. "So it's rare to be able to speak of new and genuine milestones in the glorious history of this city. Yet today's pronouncement by President Trump is such an occasion."
"We're profoundly grateful for the President for his courageous and just decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and to prepare for the opening of the US embassy there. This decision reflects the president's commitment to an ancient but enduring truth, to fulfilling his promises, and to advancing peace."
He called on the nations of the world to "follow the example of the United States." However, he stressed that the declaration "will not change the status quo," vowing to "preserve freedom of worship in Jerusalem."
The US consulate in Jerusalem called on its citizens to refrain from reaching areas of gatherings in Jerusalem and the West Bank, as well as areas where the presence of the army and police has been strengthened.
It also prevented its administrative staff and their families from traveling to these areas, and said that official travel would only take place if it was vital and would be subject to security measures.
Hours after recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital Wednesday, and saying he had instructed the State Department to begin preparation to relocate the US embassy there, Trump signed the waiver putting off any such move by another six months.
In 1995, the US Congress passed the so-called Jerusalem Embassy Act recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and stating that the US Embassy should be moved there.