Jerusalem was and will always be the capital of Israel,” Netanyahu said late Sunday, adding that the Western Wall “will always remain under Israeli sovereignty”.
The status of Jerusalem is ultra-sensitive and has been among the most difficult issues in Israeli-Palestinian peace talks.
Israel occupied east Jerusalem and the West Bank in 1967 in moves never recognised by the international community.
It later annexed east Jerusalem and claims the entire city as its capital. The Palestinians see east Jerusalem as the capital of their future state.
It came as Mr Netanyahu today declared his country’s relationship with the US was stronger than ever as Donald Trump touched down in Tel Aviv.
Tweeting from his official account, the Israeli leader wrote “ever stronger” next to a photo of himself, Trump, Melania Trump and his wife Sara Netanyahu all shaking hands.
Trump had earlier hailed the two countries’ “unbreakable bond” and vowed to secure the “ultimate” Middle East peace deal .
A historic day: I thanked President Trump for being the first sitting US president to visit the Western Wall. A true friend of Israel! pic.twitter.com/FXIND8JNJm
— Benjamin Netanyahu (@netanyahu) May 22, 2017
The trip to Israel has so far unfolded without a hitch, despite an incident prior to Trump’s arrival in which a motorist mowed down five people in Tel Aviv .
However, Netanyahu was left red-faced after a
fawning minister pestered Trump for a selfie upon his arrival in Tel Aviv .
It was deeply meaningful to visit the holiest site of my faith and to leave a note of prayer.
📷 Associated Press (AP) pic.twitter.com/9xzpZQywL2
— Ivanka Trump (@IvankaTrump) May 22, 2017