The United States, US President, Mr. Donald Trump on Wednesday recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, reversing decades of US policy and raising fears of a violent backlash.
He directed the commencement of processes to formally move the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, stating that the new American embassy to be built in Jerusalem will be a “magnificent tribute to peace”.
President Trump said during Wednesday’s announcement recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel is “nothing more or less than the recognition of reality.”
“We want an agreement that is a great deal for the Israelis, a great deal for the Palestinians,” he said; adding that the “US remains committed to peace agreement acceptable to both sides.”
By today’s pronouncement, the U.S. becomes the first country in the world to recognise Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. Both Israel and Palestine claim Jerusalem as capitals with many world leaders suggesting only after a resolution of the crisis between the two countries should be status of Jerusalem be resolved.
Despite urgent appeals from Arab and European leaders and the risk of anti-American protests and violence, Trump declared it was time for a new approach to Mideast peace after decades of failure. Calling Jerusalem Israel’s capital, he argued, was merely recognizing the obvious.
World leaders including the EU and Arab countries had cautioned against the move, saying it could further worsen the crisis in the Middle East.
The Arab League has announced an emergency meeting for Saturday on the matter while Turkey has threatened such move could affect its relationship with Israel.
In a prompt response to Trump’s statement, the Secretary General of the United Nations, António Guterres, said the UN remained committed to the two-state solution with Jerusalem as the capital of both Israel and Palestine.
“There is no alternative to the two state solution. There is no Plan B,” Guterres said.
In his reaction, Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu commended Trump, calling his pronouncement a historic landmark.
He, like Trump, said the decision would not affect all persons right to worship in the holy places in Jerusalem.
“We are profoundly grateful to the president (Trump) for his courageous and just decision,” Netanyahu said.
But the Palestinian President, Mahmoud Abbas said Wednesday that Washington’s shift “is a declaration of withdrawal from the role it has played in the peace process”.
Saudi Arabia’s King Salman, one of several Arab leaders to speak to Trump this week, warned the US leader on Tuesday that declaring Jerusalem as Israel’s capital “would constitute a flagrant provocation to all Muslims, all over the world”. Abbas and Jordan’s King Abdullah II said they told Trump specifically not to move the embassy. British Prime Minister Theresa May said she planned to call Trump to discuss her country’s support for a two-state solution.