The State ceremony marking Jerusalem Day was held Thursday at the capital's Ammunition Hill.
"Unified Jerusalem is the capital of Israel. Jerusalem always has been and always will be ours and it will never be divided again," said Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, to the sounds of roaring applause.
"I stand here today… saying what I said in my visit to the US: Jerusalem will never be divided again. Only Israeli sovereignty over the city would ensure the freedom of religion for the three faiths, and it is the only thing that can guarantee that all minorities and congregations could continue living in it," he said.
Rafik Husseini, an aide to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said in response to Netanyahu's speech that "Israeli occupation of east Jerusalem is illegal," adding that an Israeli attempt to keep control of east Jerusalem would be a "major obstacle to peace."
President Shimon Peres took the stage before Netanyahu, saying that Jerusalem is the only capital Israel and the Jewish people have ever known.
"Jerusalem's greatness does not stem from its geography, but rather from its history. No other city in the world has created such an abundance of spiritual and political history.
"Jerusalem is held sacred by half of mankind. It has and always will be Israel's capital. We never had another and it has never been the capital of any other people."
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