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Donald Trump set to recognise Jerusalem as Israel capital, triggers Middle East tension

Just Earth News | @justearthnews | 06 Dec 2017

Donald Trump set to recognise Jerusalem as Israel capital, triggers Middle East tension

Washington DC, Dec 6 (Just Earth News) : Triggering a geopolitical firestorm which could lead to a flareup in the Middle East, US President Donald Trump is set to declare formally Jerusalem as the capital of Israel on Wednesday, the White House has said.

Trump is expected to make the announcement of the dramatic foreign policy decision at the White House at 1 pm on Wednesday.

ABC News quoted U.S. official and a source close to the White House saying that official recognition of Jerusalem as the capital is expected to be intentionally broad and not meant to preclude the possibility that the Palestinians could claim part of the historic city as a capital of a future Palestinian state. 

The United States will officially recognise Jerusalem as the capital of Israel as the first country in the world to do so since the foundation of the state in 1948, media reports said.

Trump is also expected to give his approval for shifting the US Embassy from Tel Aviv to the holy city,  reports quoted senior officials in the Trump administration as saying.

The Guardian quoted an administration official saying "for a long time the United States’ position held that ambiguity, or lack of acknowledgement would somehow advance the prospects of peace."

“It seems clear now that the physical location of the embassy is not material to a peace deal … So having tried this for 22 years, an acknowledgement of reality seems like an important change,” the official said.

The Independent has quoted officials as saying that recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital will be an acknowledgement of "historical and current reality" rather than a political statement.

BBC says Israel welcomes the changes but the Palestinians and Arab leaders have warned they will jeopardise any Middle East peace process.

Israel considers Jerusalem as its capital city, while the Palestinians claim East Jerusalem as the capital of a future Palestinian state.

According to reports, Trump's declaration could ignite violent protests in the Middle East and undermine the White House’s effort to strike a peace deal between Israel and the Palestinians.

Image: US embassy in Tel Aviv ( Creative Commons)

U.S. allies, including France, Jordan and Saudi Arabia have reportedly urged Trump to avoid the extremely sensitive topic.

Mahmoud Abbas, president of the Palestinian Authority, has already warned Donald Trump of the “dangerous consequences" if he went ahead with the move.

Reports said after President Donald Trump told Jordan's King Abdullah II on Tuesday that he plans to move the American embassy in Israel to Jerusalem, the latter warned Trump of "the danger of taking any decision outside the context of a comprehensive solution that establishes a Palestinian state with its capital in east Jerusalem".

"Jerusalem is the key to achieving peace and stability in the region and the world," the statement from Jordan said.

Meanwhile, Pope Francis,  before the Trump declaration, has urged for the city’s “status quo” to be respected, to avoid worsening of world conflicts.

“I make a heartfelt appeal so that all commit themselves to respecting the status quo of the city, in conformity with the pertinent resolutions of the United Nations,” he said.