The announcement, expected Wednesday, would follow a Trump campaign promise to move the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem from Tel Aviv.
JERUSALEM — There were warnings of a new Palestinian uprising and calls for protests at U.S. embassies, dire predictions that hopes for peace would be dashed irretrievably — and expressions of relief from Israelis who have waited a half-century for the world to remove the asterisk next to this city’s name.
Yet on the whole, the responses in the region to reports that President Donald Trump will declare Jerusalem the capital of Israel — something no president has done in the nearly 70 years since Israel’s founding — remained hedged, if not entirely restrained, on Saturday. Arabs and Israelis alike were impatient to see whether Trump would really do it, precisely how he would define Jerusalem, and what else he might say or do to qualify the change.
Trump’s announcement, expected in a speech Wednesday, would follow a campaign promise to move the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem from Tel Aviv, a step for which many of Trump’s Jewish and evangelical supporters, and their allies in the Israeli right wing, have been clamoring.
For Israelis, it would acknowledge the obvious: Their government sits in Jerusalem, mainly on its western side — though the United States, along with the rest of the world, has not recognized the Holy City as Israeli territory, particularly since the Arab-Israeli War of 1967, when Israel took control of East Jerusalem.
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“That Trump will declare it? I’m glad, in case anyone was in any doubt,” said Betty Mizrahi, 40, a government worker living in Har Homa, a neighborhood built on captured territory. “Jerusalem was always the capital. That people deny it is another matter.”
Yet of all the issues that have defied resolution despite decades of talks between Palestinians and Israelis, the final status of Jerusalem — with its sites holy to Jews, Christians and Muslims, and warring claims dating back to the Crusades and the Romans — has been uniquely nettlesome.
The United States has taken pains to refrain from recognizing the Holy City as Israel’s capital to avoid being seen as prejudging the outcome of peace talks, in which Palestinians seek to make East Jerusalem the seat of their government.
Hanan Ashrawi, a member of the Palestine Liberation Organization’s (PLO) executive committee, said…