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Wednesday, December 6, 2017
Trump Recognizes JERUSALEM as Israeli CAPITAL, Announces Plan to Move U.S. Embassy
In a dramatic policy shift, President Trump announced Wednesday that the U.S. is recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and he’s starting plans to move the U.S. embassy to the ancient city.
“It is time to officially recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel,” Mr. Trump said at the White House. “It is the right thing to do.”
He said the new U.S. embassy “will be a magnificent tribute to peace.” The president said his decision is not intended to derail any chance of peace talks.
“We are not taking a position on any final-status issues,” he said, adding that he intends “to do everything in my power” to facilitate peace talks.
The president called his move “long overdue,” and said he was following through on an issue that other presidents had promised but failed to deliver. Mr. Trump pledged during the campaign last year to move the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.
Arab leaders such as Jordan’s King Abdullah II and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas have warned Mr. Trump that the announcement could provoke violent reactions in the Muslim world and damage hopes for restarting peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians. The Palestinians want east Jerusalem to become their capital as part of a two-state solution with Israel.
Secretary of State Rex W. Tillerson, speaking to reporters at NATO headquarters in Brussels, Belgium, said Mr. Trumpstill “is very committed to the Middle East peace process.”
“We continue to believe there is a very good opportunity for peace to be achieved, and the president has a team that is devoted to that entirely,” Mr. Tillerson said. “That team has been working very diligently on new approaches to the peace process. They’ve been engaged in a quiet way with many in the region around that process.”
The process of moving the embassy will take several years, and is likely to cost hundreds of millions of dollars. Due to the lengthy process, Mr. Trump signed the periodic waiver Wednesday that keeps the embassy in Tel Aviv, a document required by a 1995 law calling for the embassy to be moved to Jerusalem.
Due to the lengthy process, Mr. Trump signed the periodic waiver Wednesday that keeps the embassy in Tel Aviv, a document required by a 1995 law calling for the embassy to be moved to Jerusalem.
The Republican Jewish Coalition took out a full-page ad in the New York Times Wednesday thanking Mr. Trump for his decision.
“The president has delivered on another major campaign promise,” said RJC national chairman Norm Coleman. “President Trump is doing what he does so well: recognizing the reality on the ground.”
Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council, called Mr. Trump’s decision “a major milestone in America’s historic relationship with Israel.”
“Under the bold and courageous leadership of President Trump, America is finally putting American interests and the interests of our key allies first,” Mr. Perkins said. “America’s foreign policy, as it pertains to Israel, is coming into alignment with biblical truth: Jerusalem as the eternal and indivisible capital of the Jewish state.”
As Mr. Trump spoke, several U.S. Muslim groups held a news conference outside the White House in opposition to the move.
“By overturning a decades-long policy adopted by administrations of both parties, President Trump is casting aside America’s role as a mediator in the Middle East conflict, harming our Muslim allies and our nation’s strategic foreign policy interests, offending the religious sensibilities of the world’s 1.6 billion Muslims, and empowering political and religious extremists of all stripes at home and abroad,” said Nihad Awad, national executive director of the Council of American-Islamic Relations. “This dangerous, counterproductive and self-serving move should be rejected by every American who looks forward to a just and comprehensive resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.”