- ‘My announcement marks the beginning of a new approach to the conflict’
- Palestinian president says US has abdicated its role as mediator
Donald Trump has defied overwhelming global opposition by recognising Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, but insisted that the highly controversial move would not derail his own administration’s bid to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
In a short speech delivered at the White House, Trump directed the state department to start making arrangements to move the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem – a process that officials say will take at least three years.
“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.”
Trump said: “My announcement today marks the beginning of a new approach to the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians.”
The president’s announcement provoked condemnation from US allies, 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.
The United Nations Security Council is likely to meet on Friday to discuss the move, after a request by eight countries on the 15-member body, including the UK, Italy and France.
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.
The peace process has been at death’s door since the former secretary of state John Kerry’s peace mission ended in failure in 2014. But the international community – apart from the US – is united in saying recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel is disastrous for any hopes of reviving meaningful talks. The status of Jerusalem is one of the pivotal issues that diplomats and peacemakers have said must be agreed between the two parties in negotiations.
Palestinians will see Trump’s announcement as the end of their hopes and demands for East…