Vice President Mike Pence spoke Monday at an event in Washington, D.C., to mark the opening of the U.S. embassy in Jerusalem.
Pence credited President Donald Trump for being the strongest defender Israel “has ever had in the oval office” and accepted a medal honoring him as a protector of Jerusalem. Speaking about the long history of the Jewish people in Jerusalem, Pence said Trump’s willingness to recognize it as the capital city of the state of Israel is a historic moment.
“From King David’s time to our own, President Trump has now etched his name into the ineffaceable story of Jerusalem,” Pence said.
He said the decision is merely a recognition of reality, and he said it provides a firmer foundation for peace negotiations.
“By finally recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, the United States has chosen fact over fiction,” Pence said. “And fact is the only true foundation for a just and lasting peace. As President Trump made clear this morning, our greatest hope is for peace, and as Jared [Kushner] also said, the United States of America is prepared to support a peace agreement in every way we can.”
In Pence’s view, a peace that benefits Israelis and Palestinians is possible.
“We believe peace is possible, for both sides to gain more than they give so that all people can live in peace, secure from danger, free from fear, and able to pursue their dreams,” he said.
Pence credited Israel for its strength in the face of challenges.
“As we look at Israel today, it is extraordinary to behold all the progress she has made, and the example that she sets,” Pence said. “The truth is, today, Israel is not only 70 years old–Israel is 70 years strong.”
In addition, Pence expressed solidarity with Israel in the face of terrorism and against Iranian aggression.
“Iran’s unprecedented missile attacks on Israel last week only confirm the president’s decision, and this dangerous act of aggression only strengthened our resolve,” Pence said. “So this day let me assure you all, the United States of America will never allow Iran to obtain a nuclear weapon.”