Finally! Trump set to recognise Jerusalem as Israel’s capital
Donald Trump is likely to announce next week that the US will recognise Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, a move that upends 50 years of US Middle East policy and is likely to inflame relations with the Palestinians and America’s Arab allies.
White House officials said Mr. Trump would probably make the announcement in a speech on Wednesday, but that a final decision had not yet been made.
The status of Jerusalem has long been one of the most sensitive subjects of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The city holds significance to Muslims across the world because it is home to the al-Aqsa mosque, Islam’s third holiest site.
US presidents since Harry Truman have refused to recognise Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and said that its final status must be settled through negotiations.
Bill Clinton, George W Bush and Barack Obama have all supported the idea of a two-state solution — which would likely include dividing Jerusalem so it could be a capital for both Israel and Palestine — but Mr. Trump has so far not committed to the two-state model.
US allies such as King Abdullah of Jordan have long warned that any unilateral American moves on the status of Jerusalem could spark violent protests among the Palestinians and across the Arab world. Saudi Arabia has also lobbied the US not to move ahead.
Declaring Jerusalem as Israel’s capital could also damage prospects of securing what Mr. Trump calls “the ultimate deal” — an Israeli-Palestinian peace agreement. The White House had been expected to lay out proposals for a peace plan early next year.
Securing US recognition of Jerusalem would be a major victory for Israel’s government, which has long been sensitive to Western refusals on the subject, and for many of Mr. Trump’s Evangelical Christian voters who strongly support Israel.
There was no immediate reaction from either Israel or the Palestinians over news of the likely announcement.
The shift would put the US at odds with Britain and EU countries, which all insist that the city’s status can only be determined in final peace talks.
While Mr. Trump may recognise the city as Israel’s capital, he is also expected to once again delay moving the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, as he promised to do during the 2016 election.
Like previous presidents, he has held back because of warnings from US diplomats and Arab allies.
While Jerusalem’s status is fiercely contested on the international stage, both its Jewish western half and Palestinian eastern half are under effective Israeli control. The city is patrolled by Israeli police and an Israeli mayor in theory has civic responsibility for all its residents.
While Israel considers the entire city to be its “eternal and undivided capital,” a UN security council resolution from 1980 rebuked Israel’s annexation of east Jerusalem and refused to recognise it.
The US recognition is unlikely to have much practical effect on life in the city.
Mr. Trump’s son-in-law and point man on Israeli-Palestinian peace, Jared Kushner, is due to speak on the issue on Sunday at a forum in Washington; while the US vice president, Mike Pence, will travel to the region later in the month.
(UK News Yahoo)