US President Donald Trump has officially announced his decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, where he plans to relocate the American embassy. The US President admitted the move will cause dissent, but says it could help resolve the Arab-Israeli conflict.
“Today, we finally acknowledge the obvious – that Jerusalem is Israel’s capital. This is nothing more or less than a recognition of reality,” said Trump in a pre-scheduled speech at the White House.
“Israel is a sovereign nation with a right like every other sovereign nation to determine its own capital. Acknowledging this is a fact is a necessary condition for achieving peace,” continued the US President, who called Israel “one of the most successful democracies in the world.”
The United States will become the only country to host its diplomatic mission in the city, which remains disputed territory, though Trump has ordered for the move to be delayed by six months.
The US President rejected warnings from the Arab world and Europe that the decision would imperil the already-stalled peace process between Palestine and Israel.
“After more than two decades of waivers, we are no closer to a lasting peace agreement between Israel and the Palestinians… We cannot solve our problems by making the same failed assumptions and repeating the same failed strategies of the past,” said Trump.
A day ahead of the announcement, Trump called Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, informing him of his decision, according to the Palestinian leader’s spokesman. Abbas, in turn, warned of “the dangerous consequences” of such a move, saying, it would affect “the peace, security and stability of the region and of the world.”
Ahead of the expected announcement of Washington’s controversial move, the Palestinian movement Hamas called for a “day of rage.” The main demonstration to protest Trump’s decision is planned for Thursday afternoon at al-Manara Square in Ramallah. Groups of Palestinians have already taken to the streets burning images of the US president. Hamas’ political leader, Ismail Haniyeh, reportedly vowed that all available options would be used to “protect our land and our holy sites.”
Earlier Wednesday, Palestine and Jordan requested an emergency Arab League meeting on the issue. The regional organization are set to hold talks Saturday, Reuters reported.
The decision recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel has also been condemned by 13 patriarchs and church heads in the Holy City. Recognizing the city as Israel’s capital will cause “irreparable harm,” the leaders of the Greek Orthodox, Coptic, Catholic, and other branches of Christianity wrote in an open letter to the US president. Pope Francis said he was “praying to the Lord” for the preservation of the city’s identity, saying “Jerusalem is a unique city, sacred to Jews, Christians and Muslims.”