US President Donald Trump with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the Israel Museum in Jerusalem on May 23, 2017 [Photo Source: Wikimedia Commons]

Historic Decision

Donald Trump will declare formal recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel on Wednesday, the White House has said. In recent days, Trump spoke by phone with PA President Mahmoud Abbas, King Abdullah II of Jordan and King Salman of Saudi Arabia, briefing them on his plans regarding the move of the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. We will be eagerly awaiting the president’s official announcement and press release later today.

Background

During the campaign for his presidency, United States President Trump made promises to move the US embassy to Jerusalem. It seemed that the President backtracked on his promise to move the embassy, when earlier this year he signed a waiver under the Jerusalem Embassy Act and delayed moving the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem. At the time of the signing of the waiver, the White House issued a statement saying, “No one should consider this step to be in any way a retreat from the President’s strong support for Israel and for the United States-Israel alliance.” There was skepticism at best and mistrust at worst about whether or not the President would ever follow through with his campaign promise to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and move their embassy.

“For a long time the United States’ position held that ambiguity, or lack of acknowledgement would somehow advance the prospects of peace,” a senior administration official said. “It seems clear now that the physical location of the embassy is not material to a peace deal … So having tried this for 22 years, an acknowledgement of reality seems like an important change.”

What to Expect

In his remarks to be delivered in a diplomatic reception room in the White House, Trump will base his decision of recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital on ancient history and current political realities such as Israeli legislature and the fact that many government offices are in Jerusalem, The Guardian reported. He will also order the State Department to start the process of planning and building a new US embassy in Jerusalem, but White House officials said that process would take at least three years.

US government employees have been told to avoid Jerusalem’s Old City and Judea and Samaria until further notice.

We thank US President Donald J. Trump for fulfilling his promise to officially recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and to stand by that recognition by moving the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

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