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December 14, 2017

Despite global pushback, Trump recognizes Jerusalem as capital of Israel


Despite global pushback, Trump recognizes Jerusalem as capital of Israel

President Donald Trump made official his decision to recognize the ancient and divided city of…


President Donald Trump made official his decision to recognize the ancient and divided city of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital on Wednesday afternoon, a move that could cause more upheaval in the Mideast and is being met with widespread international opposition.

The president has directed the State Department to begin the process of building a new embassy in Jerusalem, meeting a campaign promise and acting on a 1995 law that has never been implemented.

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Israel hailed the decision when it became clear Tuesday, and Palestinian officials were already blasting it once the president informed them. The Palestinians also claim their capital in the city, which is home to some of the holiest sites in Judaism, Christianity and Islam.

“I have determined that it is time to officially recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel,” Trump said in remarks at the White House. While previous presidents have made this a campaign promise, they failed to deliver. Today, I am delivering.”

“This is nothing more or less than a recognition of reality.”

Ahead of Trump’s White House speech, Arab and Muslim leaders spoke about the potential for violence. In Gaza, hundreds of Palestinian protesters burned American and Israeli flags. They also waved Palestinian flags and banners proclaiming Jerusalem as their “eternal capital,” language that Israelis similarly use.

Trump said the move is not a position on final boundaries in the city and that his administration wants a “great deal” for both Israelis and Palestinians. He said the U.S. would support a two-state solution if agreed to by both sides, and Vice President Mike Pence is heading to the region this week.

“Above all, our greatest hope is for peace.”

A large crowd of protesters in Istanbul were chanting in front of the U.S. consulate, drawing out heavy security. They had a sign reading “Jersusalem belongs to Islam.”

Even America’s closest allies in Europe questioned the wisdom of Trump’s radical departure from past U.S. positions. Trump faced a deadline this week on whether to move the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem, not on stating his view or his nation’s on whether Jerusalem should be considered the Israeli capital.

U.S. officials who previewed Trump’s address said his recognition of Jerusalem wouldn’t compromise the city’s geographic and political borders, which would still have to be determined by Israel and the Palestinians. Trump also isn’t eliminating the possibility of Palestinians realizing their aspiration of establishing east Jerusalem as the capital of a future nation, said the officials, who weren’t authorized to be quoted by name and briefed reporters on condition of anonymity.

Quickly after taking office, Trump’s administration made peace in the region a priority, putting the president’s adviser and son-in-law Jared Kushner in charge of the effort. But Palestinian Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah said the provocative decision “destroys the peace process.”

On Tuesday, the White House cast the move as an acknowledgement of the “current reality,” since the majority of Israel’s government is located in Jerusalem. Trump, as previous U.S. presidents and diplomats have, traveled to the city for an official visit.

Eventually moving the U.S. embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem could be a years-long process, with construction, logistical and security details to be planned out.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.


Source: Despite global pushback, Trump recognizes Jerusalem as capital of Israel

Despite global pushback, Trump recognizes Jerusalem as capital of Israel


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