US to Recognise Jerusalem as Israel’s Capital, First Time in History
US President Donald Trump will recognise Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, senior administration officials have said.
He is due to announce the controversial decision in a speech later.
Mr Trump is also expected to approve moving the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, but not for several years.
Israel welcomes the changes but the Palestinians and Arab leaders have warned they will jeopardise any Middle East peace process.
Saudi Arabia, an ally of the US, called the changes “a flagrant provocation to Muslims”.
Israel has always regarded Jerusalem as its capital city, while the Palestinians claim East Jerusalem as the capital of a future Palestinian state.
In recognising Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, the US becomes the first country to do so since the foundation of the state in 1948.
No other country has its embassy in Jerusalem. The status of Jerusalem is one of the most sensitive issues in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and Palestinian leaders insist there is no hope for a peace agreement unless they are able to set up their own capital in East Jerusalem. Israel insists the entire city is its “eternal and undivided capital”.
The U.S. officials said there are currently about 1,000 personnel in the embassy in Tel Aviv. They added that there is no facility in Jerusalem ready to serve as the embassy site, and it will take time to address security, design and cost concerns.
“It will take some time to find a site, address security concerns, design a new facility, fund a new facility — working with Congress, obviously — and build it,” one official said. “So this is not an instantaneous process.”
Ahead of the announcement, Trump spoke Tuesday with Palestinian President Mahmood Abbas, Jordanian King Abdullah and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
Netanyahu has said he supports the U.S. moving its embassy. But Abbas has warned of the “gravity of consequences” should the move become official for “the peace process and security and stability in the region and world.”
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