US Recognizes Jerusalem as Israel’s Capital
Instead of its current place in Tel Aviv, the United States of America has recognized Jerusalem as the capital city of Israel.
President Donald Trump has announced this today, amidst apprehension that the announcement may spiral violence for overturning decades of official US policy.
Speaking at the White House, Mr Trump said he had “judged this course of action to be in the best interests of the United States of America, and the pursuit of peace between Israel and the Palestinians”.
He said he was directing the US state department to begin preparations to move the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.
But Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas responded to the decision by saying the US could no longer be a peace broker.
The fate of the ancient city is one of the thorniest issues between Israel and the Palestinians.
While Trump believed the move would help speed-up peace process between Israel and Palestine Abbas said that his “deplorable and unacceptable measures deliberately undermine all peace efforts”.
The Palestinian leader earlier warned of “dangerous consequences” through a spokesman, a sentiment echoed by other Arab leaders, who said there could be unrest.
BBC reports that demonstrations have already taken place outside the US consulate in Istanbul, Turkey, and a large labour union in Tunisia has called for mass protests.
In response, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said it was a historic day, and Israel was profoundly grateful to President Trump.
Jerusalem contains sites sacred to the three major monotheistic faiths – Judaism, Islam and Christianity.
East Jerusalem, which includes the Old City, was annexed by Israel after the Six Day War of 1967, but is not internationally recognised as part of Israel.