U.S. President Donald Trump has stirred up tension in the Middle East by his recognising Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. Trump also assured he would relocate the US embassy in Tel-Aviv to Jerusalem. The US president, by his action, showed he had the balls to do what some of his predecessors, including George Bush and Bill Clinton, couldn’t do, but promised in their campaigns.
“I have determined that it is time to officially recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel,” Trump said. “While previous presidents have made this a major campaign promise, they failed to deliver. Today, I am delivering.”
“My announcement today marks the beginning of a new approach to the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians.” The decision showed Trump defying warnings from Arab leaders allied with the US against recognising Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.
The president’s announcement provoked condemnation from and a furious reaction from Palestinian leaders and the Muslim world. Within minutes of Trump’s announcement, US embassies in Turkey, Jordan, Germany and Britain issued security alerts urging Americans to exercise caution.
Trump stressed that he was not stipulating how much of Jerusalem should be considered Israel’s capital. Palestinians see East Jerusalem as the capital of their own future state, and Trump did not rule out a future division of the city.
“We are not taking a position of any final status issues, including the specific boundaries of the Israeli sovereignty in Jerusalem, or the resolution of contested borders. Those questions are up to the parties involved,” the president said.
But the move marks a break with years of US precedent – and with general global opinion, which sees the fate of Jerusalem as a matter for comprehensive “final status” negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians.