ISRAEL this week went from the sheer ecstasy of the opening of the American embassy in Jerusalem... to having to defend itself before the world over Palestinian deaths in Gaza.
An overjoyed Benjamin Netanyahu could hardly contain his gratitude as he told 400 guests at the ceremony: “This is history.”
And addressing the absent American president, he added: “Donald Trump, by recognising history, you have made history. All of us are deeply moved. All of us are deeply grateful.”
But 60 miles south of the holy city, violence was raging on the Gaza border.
The Israeli leader alluded to this only briefly in his 10-minute remarks.
“Our brave soldiers are protecting the borders of Israel as we speak today,” he said. “We salute them all, and the members of our security forces.”
Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser Jared Kushner also referred to the rioting, saying: “As we have seen from the protests of the last month and even today, those provoking violence are part of the problem and not part of the solution.”
Netanyahu thanked Trump for “having the courage to keep your promise” to move America’s embassy back to Jerusalem.
And on Wednesday, Guatemala became the second country to make the move.
The Israeli prime minister said that this was a great day not only for Israel and America, but also for peace because truth and peace were interconnected.
“A peace that is built on lies will crash on the rocks of Middle Eastern reality,” he said. “You can only build peace on truth, and the truth is that Jerusalem has been — and will always be — the capital of the Jewish people, the capital of the Jewish state.”
Trump, in a message played on a large screen, told the gathering: “Congratulations. It’s been a long time coming.”
He noted that America had for years “failed to acknowledge the obvious — the plain reality that Israel’s capital is Jerusalem”.
This changed, he added, with his recognition of it as such.
To applause, he said: “Today we follow through on this and open our embassy in the historic and sacred land of Jerusalem. And we’re opening it many, many, many years ahead of schedule.”
Trump stressed that Washington remained committed to facilitating a “lasting peace agreement” and reiterated a call to preserve the status quo at Jerusalem’s holy sites.
Kushner said he was “so proud to be here today in Jerusalem, the eternal heart of the Jewish people”.
He noted that the city “means so much” to Judaism, Islam and Christianity.
“While the challenges to peace are numerous, I have personally seen that the determination of the leaders in the region and throughout the world remains steadfast,” he added of his efforts to forge a peace deal.
“They have seen too much pain, sorrow, and wasted opportunity, and they think it’s time to try something better.
“As Israel turns 70, the search for a lasting peace turns over a new leaf — one of realism and of not being afraid to stand strongly with our allies for what is good, for what is right, and for what is true.
“When there is peace in this region, we will look back and remember that the journey to peace started with a strong America recognising the truth.”
Israeli president Reuven Rivlin said: “In every US election, every presidential candidate has promised to move the American embassy to Jerusalem.
“Finally, we have a leader who promised it... and also kept his promise.”
Rivlin added: “The Israeli people thank you for keeping your word, for your courage and for your firm, unwavering stance alongside the State of Israel.”