Shortly after the US State Department announced that the US embassy will be moved to Jerusalem in May, much earlier than originally intended, Israel’s Prime Minister thanked President Donald Trump for making Israel’s upcoming 70th anniversary “an even bigger celebration.”

Photo credit: Kremlin/Wikipedia

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu praised on Friday evening Washington’s decision to have the US embassy move to Jerusalem by May, on the day of Israel’s establishment in 1948.

“This is a great day for the people of Israel,” Netanyahu said in a statement issued by Israel’s embassy in the US. “President Trump’s decision to move the United States Embassy to Jerusalem on the coming Independence Day follows his historic declaration in December to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.”

“This decision will turn Israel’s 70th Independence Day into an even bigger celebration,” he added. “Thank you President Trump for your leadership and friendship.”

The US State Department announced on Friday the early relocation of the embassy. According to State Department Spokesperson Heather Nauert, the new embassy will first move to the US consular building. By the end of 2019, a new, permanent embassy building will be built.

Israel’s envoy to the UN, Danny Danon, issued his own statement in response to the State Department’s announcement. “President Trump’s bold decision to move the American embassy to Jerusalem this May, in honor of our 70th Independence Day, is a testament to the unbreakable alliance and true friendship between the US and Israel,” he said.

“The time is now for all UN member states to follow in the footsteps of the US and declare that they too recognize Jerusalem as the eternal capital of the State of Israel.”

Expectedly, the announcement triggered furious responses from Palestinian officials. PLO Secretary-General Saeb Erekat said the decision blatantly violates international law and destroys the option for a two-state solution.