Orders plan for U.S. embassy to move to Jerusalem
U.S. President Donald Trump reversed decades of policy on Wednesday and recognised Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, despite warnings from around the world that the gesture will further drive a wedge between Israel and the Palestinians.
“I have determined that it is time to officially recognise Jerusalem as the capital of Israel,” Mr. Trump said. “While previous Presidents have made this a major campaign promise, they failed to deliver. Today, I am delivering.”
In a speech at the White House, Mr. Trump said his administration would also begin a process of moving the U.S. embassy in Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, which is expected to take years.
Trump aides contend the move reflects the reality of Jerusalem as the centre of Jewish faith and the fact that the city is the seat of the Israeli government.
Mr. Trump also called his decision “a long overdue” step to advance the peace process. He said his decision marked the start of a “new approach” to solving the thorny conflict between Israel and the Palestinians.
A Palestinian envoy said the decision was a declaration of war in the region.
Senior administration officials said on Tuesday evening that the formal recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital did not prejudice a possible settlement between the two parties on its status later. The construction of a new embassy in Jerusalem would be a matter of years, not months, an official said. They said the location of the U.S. embassy had no bearing on the peace process.
Mr. Trump’s predecessors — from Bill Clinton to George Bush — made similar promises on the campaign trail, but quickly reneged upon taking office.