Defying appeals and warnings from world leaders, Donald Trump has broken with decades of U.S. and international policy by recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and starting the process of relocating the US embassy from Tel Aviv.
Despite urgent appeals from Arab and European leaders and the risk of anti-American protests and violence, Mr Trump declared that he was ending an approach that for decades has failed to advance the prospects for peace. He also for the first time personally endorsed the concept of a “two-state solution” for Israel and the Palestinians, provided both sides agree to it.
“I have determined that it is time to officially recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel,” he said in a White House address, calling it “overdue” and in the best interests of the United States.
Mr Trump said recognition acknowledged the “obvious” fact that Jerusalem is the seat of Israel’s government despite the disputed status that is one of the key elements in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. “This is nothing more or less than the recognition of reality,” he said. Mr Trump also directed that the State Department begin the process of moving the US Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem as required by US law. Officials said, however, that the move will take years to complete.