Many to follow US on Jerusalem: Netanyahu

Agencies
Benjamin Netanyahu has praised Donald Trump's decision to recognise Jerusalem as Israel's capital

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says many countries will follow the United States in recognising Jerusalem as Israel's capital.

Wednesday's announcement by US President Donald Trump reversed decades of peace-making policy on Jerusalem, which both Israelis and Palestinians claim, and drew censure from many countries, among them key allies of Washington.

"I would like to announce that we are already in contact with other countries which will issue a similar recognition," Netanyahu said in a speech at Israel's Foreign Ministry.

He did not name any of these countries.

The United States plans to open an embassy in Jerusalem, a move it says could take three to four years. The US Embassy is currently in Tel Aviv, Israel's economic hub, as are those of other countries.

"I have no doubt that the moment the American Embassy moves to Jerusalem, and even before then, there will be a movement of many embassies to Jerusalem. The time has come," Netanyahu said.

Palestinian Islamist group Hamas called on Thursday for a new uprising against Israel after Trump's move.

Netanyahu earlier praised the US's decision as "courageous and just".

After calling the day "historic," Netanyahu said: "I call on all countries that seek peace to join the United States in recognising Jerusalem as Israel's capital and to move their embassies here."

The Israeli leader promised not to change the status of the sacred religious sites in the city, and to guarantee freedom of religion for Jews, Christians and Muslims.

The Jewish state took over East Jerusalem during the 1967 Six Day War and annexed it in 1980. However, the Palestinians also claim the city as the capital of their homeland and future state, and Jerusalem is the third-holiest city to Muslims.