Trump to recognize Jerusalem as Israel capital, upending decades of U.S. policy
WASHINGTON/JERUSALEM (Reuters) – President Donald Trump on Wednesday will recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and set in motion the relocation of the U.S. Embassy to the ancient city, senior U.S. officials said, a decision that upends decades of U.S. policy and risks fueling violence in the Middle East.
Facing an outcry of opposition from Arab capitals, Trump, in a landmark speech, will announce he has ordered the State Department to begin developing a plan to move the embassy from Tel Aviv in what is expected to be a process that takes three to four years, the officials said. He will not set a timetable for the move.
Trump will sign a national security waiver that authorizes him to delay the embassy relocation for now since the U.S. diplomats do not yet have a building in Jerusalem to move into, security arrangements or housing for diplomats, the officials said.
Still, Trump’s endorsement of Israel’s claim to all of Jerusalem as its capital would reverse long-standing U.S. policy that the city’s status must be decided in negotiations with the Palestinians, who want East Jerusalem as the capital of their future state.
The international community does not recognize Israeli sovereignty over the entire city, home to sites holy to the Muslim, Jewish and Christian religions.
The officials, who briefed reporters ahead of Trump’s speech at 1 p.m. EST (1800 GMT) on Wednesday, insisted that Trump’s decision, intended to fulfill a key campaign promise, was not meant to pre-judge the outcome of eventual talks on the final status of Jerusalem or other major disputes between the two sides.