Trump recognizes Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, reversing longtime U.S. policy

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks at the Jerusalem Post Diplomatic Conference in Jerusalem
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks at the Jerusalem Post Diplomatic Conference in Jerusalem December 6, 2017. REUTERS/Ronen Zvulun

December 7, 2017

By Steve Holland and Maayan Lubell

WASHINGTON/JERUSALEM (Reuters) – President Donald Trump on Wednesday reversed decades of U.S. policy and recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, imperiling Middle East peace efforts and upsetting the Arab world and Western allies alike.

Trump announced his administration would begin a process of moving the U.S. embassy in Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, a step expected to take years and one that his predecessors opted not to take to avoid inflaming tensions.

The status of Jerusalem – home to sites holy to the Muslim, Jewish and Christian religions – is one of the biggest obstacles to reaching a peace agreement between Israel and the Palestinians.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu hailed Trump’s announcement as a “historic landmark,” but other close Western allies of Washington such as Britain and France were critical.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said the United States abdicated its role as a mediator in peace efforts, and Palestinian secular and Islamist factions called for a general strike and rallies on Thursday to protest.

The international community does not recognize Israeli sovereignty over the entire city, believing its status should be resolved in negotiations. No other country has its embassy in Jerusalem.

Trump’s decision fulfills a campaign promise and will please Republican conservatives and evangelicals who make up a sizeable portion of his domestic support.

“I have determined that it is time to officially recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel,” Trump said in a speech at the White House. “While previous presidents have made this a major campaign promise, they failed to deliver. Today, I am delivering.”

Trump’s decision risks further inflaming a region already grappling with conflict in Syria, Iraq and Yemen.

Protests broke out in areas of Jordan’s capital, Amman, inhabited by Palestinian refugees, and several hundred protesters gathered outside the U.S. consulate in Istanbul.

The United States is asking Israel to temper its response to Trump’s announcement because Washington expects a backlash and is weighing the potential threat to U.S. facilities and people, according to a State Department document seen by Reuters.

Israel considers Jerusalem its eternal and indivisible capital and wants all embassies based there. Palestinians want the capital of an independent state of theirs to be in the city’s eastern sector, which Israel captured in the 1967 Middle East war and annexed in a move never recognized internationally.

Netanyahu said any peace deal with Palestinians must include Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. That would be a non-starter for Palestinians in any negotiations if it meant the entire city would be under Israeli control.

For a graphic on possible Jerusalem U.S. Embassy sites, click http://tmsnrt.rs/2jIXIoq

PALESTINIANS UPSET

Abbas on Wednesday called the city “the eternal capital of the state of Palestine.” He said Trump’s decision was tantamount to the United States abdicating its peace mediator role. Jordan said Trump’s decision was “legally null.”

“I think it’s pretty catastrophic, frankly,” said Hussein Ibish at the Arab Gulf States Institute in Washington, adding that “Trump did not distinguish in any meaningful sense between West Jerusalem and occupied East Jerusalem.”

Palestinian Islamist group Hamas accused Trump of a “flagrant aggression against the Palestinian people.”

Palestinians switched off Christmas lights at Jesus’ traditional birthplace in Bethlehem on Wednesday night to protest Trump’s move.

Trump has tilted U.S. policy toward Israel since taking office in January.

“He cannot expect to side entirely with Israel on the most sensitive and complex issues in the process, and yet expect the Palestinians to see the United States as an honest broker,” said former U.S. Ambassador to Israel Daniel Kurtzer.

Pope Francis called for Jerusalem’s status quo to be respected. China and Russia expressed concern the move could aggravate Middle East hostilities.

A statement from the Saudi Royal Court said the Saudi government had expressed “condemnation and deep regret” about the move.

A spokesman for British Prime Minister Theresa May called the U.S. decision “unhelpful in terms of prospects for peace in the region.”

The United Nations Security Council is likely to meet on Friday over Trump’s decision, diplomats said on Wednesday.

Trump said his move was not intended to tip the scale in favor of Israel and that any deal involving the future of Jerusalem would have to be negotiated by the parties.

He insisted he was not taking a position on “any final status issues, including the specific boundaries of the Israeli sovereignty in Jerusalem, or the resolution of contested borders.”

REFUGEES, SETTLEMENTS AMONG DISPUTES

Other key disputes between the two sides include the fate of Palestinian refugees and Jewish settlements built on occupied land. Trump made no mention of settlements.

He said he remained committed to the two-state solution if the parties want one. The president called on the region to take his message calmly.

“There will of course be disagreement and dissent regarding this announcement but we are confident that ultimately, as we work through these disagreements, we will arrive at a place of greater understanding and cooperation,” Trump said.

U.S. Representative Eliot Engel, a pro-Israel Democrat on the House Foreign Affairs Committee who is often critical of Trump’s foreign policy, said: “This decision is long overdue and helps correct a decades-long indignity.”

Trump acted under a 1995 law that requires the United States to move its embassy to Jerusalem. His predecessors, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Obama, consistently put off that decision.

Trump ordered a delay to any embassy move from Tel Aviv since the United States does not have an embassy in Jerusalem to move into. A senior administration official said it could take three to four years to build one.

The Jerusalem decision has raised doubts about the Trump administration’s ability to follow through on a peace effort that Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser, Jared Kushner, has led for months aimed at reviving long-stalled negotiations.

There was no indication Trump asked Netanyahu for anything in return when he notified the Israeli leader of his Jerusalem decision on Tuesday, a person familiar with the matter said.

But Aaron David Miller, a former Middle East negotiator for Republican and Democratic administrations, said Trump, who has long touted himself as a master negotiator, might be setting the stage for seeking Israeli concessions later.

“This might be the case where Trump applies a little honey now to show the Israelis he’s the most pro-Israel president ever, and then applies a little vinegar later,” he said.

(Additional reporting by Matt Spetalnick, Arshad Mohammed, Phil Stewart, Patricia Zengerle, Doina Chiacu, David Alexander, Makini Brice, Maria Caspani and Yara Bayoumy in Washington, Ali Sawafta in Ramallah, Ori Lewis in Jerusalem, Suleiman Al-Khalidi in Amman and Michelle Nichols at the United Nations; Editing by Alistair Bell and Peter Cooney)

  • CCTexas

    Let the Arabs, the muslims, the Europeans, the Asians, the Whites, the Blacks, the Browns, the Purples, let them all get upset. Jerusalem IS the Capitol of Israel. Jerusalem IS David’s old Capitol. This correct action by President Trump has no impact on the Peace prospects of the Middle East. There is NO Peace prospect anywhere in that area. It is the right thing to do and I am happy it has been done. The Palestinians and the little Pope can all take a hike. One more success story for Trump and one more solid move for humanity.

  • Andrew Moore8

    Another blow to the one world government people……MAGA.

  • eladtoor

    Wow, The Donald and AF-1 are going to be worn to a frazzle during the next coupla’ years, as Trump rushes back and forth from Jerusalem to the Mexican border, building that new embassy and The Wall.
    We should all chip in and buy him some work gloves so he doesn’t eff-up his manicure, and a good pair of steel-toed shoes, ’cause you know The Donald, he’s always dropping things and spilling stuff, and we wouldn’t want him trying to run back and forth with smashed and bleeding toes.

  • Robert E Lee

    The man has balls and carries them in a wheel barrow! Go Donald

  • Shortly, the Arabs will get so angry that they will fight each other. Nothing changes in the Middle East. But Trump has struck a gigantic stoke for peace in the Middle East. No more US Dollars for foreign aid to Hamas, Abbas, Gaza, etc.

  • Donald Field

    The world is used to the American President backpedaling, kissing bttt and drawing lines in the sand. We now have a MAN in office and will do what’s right.

  • SlowpokeSA

    President Trump fixed the two state solution: one is better than two. Israel is the ONLY place in the ENTIRE Middle East where true religious freedom resides. God bless Donald Trump!

    • Respectfulguest

      Actually, Syria under Assad was a place of true religious freedom. All the Christians of Syria love Assad, a secular Muslim, who spends Christmas with nuns in monasteries, and visits Christian holy sites. WE, the US, having admitted (Kerry) to having helped ISIS to depose him, have the blood of countless Christians on our hands. Thank God for Russia helping Syria regain stability under Assad…who my Syrian friends all have voted for, love and respect.

      • Pedro Muhammad

        Really? Show me 1 synagogue in Syria under Assad?

        BTW- There is 1 or 2 in Iran..

      • Elephant

        I’m sorry, but Syria is not a Christian nation. Lebanon came to be because Syria was muslim and the Lebanese people are Christians as told to me by my ancestors.

        • Respectfulguest

          Of course this is true, but there are many Christians IN Syria and under Assad they had protection and respect, as he is a secular (Alawite sect) Muslim
          I did not say that Syria is a Christian nation. It is majority Muslim.

  • Respectfulguest

    Thoughts: Perhaps the Palestinians can realize that the victor gets the land? Their coreligionists did it in Constantinople, didn’t they? On the other hand, the Christian clerics who are in the Holy Land begged Trump to keep the status quo, meaning that they know what will happen now may not be good for Christianity. Just like the Christians begged Bush not to go to Iraq, and we now see that they knew what would happen. Their blood is on our hands. The blood of Syrian Christians are on our hands. Will the blood of Christians in the Holy Land also now be on our hands? These geopolitics tend to think of ONE narrow objective without looking or caring about the larger picture, and lately, Christians are always the losers and no one in our country cares. Kerry is on record saying that we had to help ISIS (!!!)to ensure victory over Assad!!

  • Billboy89

    Yeah, if Trump would have just not done this, all the problems of the Middle East could have been solved…..

    Ok, now back to reality. Palestinians won’t be happy until they have killed all the Jews in Israel. Probably not even then. Most other Muslims couldn’t give a rat’s behind about the Palestinians either, other than to use them as an excuse for more killing….which they don’t really need anyway, since they will just keep on killing like they have for hundreds of years no matter what.

  • DrMitoFit

    I never understood why most American Jewish people vote Democrat. Obama did many things against Israel. After Trump’s bold and common sense move what reason will they have to vote Democrat now?

    • Elephant

      I pray none!

  • …remain calm and return fire

    Every day President Trump wakes up early; ready, willing, and able to stomp phony establishment face…and then he proceeds to stomp face….and I really like it! Godspeed, Mr. Trump!

  • H. P. Hazard

    If you ever read the Musloid guide book (please don’t waste your time) we all have to be killed unless we convert. I refuse to call it a religion, it’s a CULT! Any true religion would not have a book that called for the death of non believers over 100 times. Like any cult most mindless individuals will follow like sheep.

    • RfromTx

      Just as frightening as what the Bible says as to what the Christian God did to all non believers… both here on earth and to the life after… and this is not a CULT(?)

      • RfromTx

        I believe in the “Bible guide book” too just as you do H.P. And according to this guide book God committed the absolute terrorist attack ever on human kind. He caused a deluge that wiped out all non-believers in exchange for a few who follows Him like a sheep. You would think that the next generation that evolved from the Arc would all follow Him like a sheep… but it did not happened. So here we are.. in a dog eats dog situation just like before.

        • SlowpokeSA

          You need to get out and into a bible-based church more often. Break out of the Old Testament. Embrace the reformation of Jesus Christ. Islam IS a cult: a political, suicidal, 14th century phenomena that has way outlived its ancient usefulness – the Ottomans are dead, you may recall.

        • CCTexas

          God punished SINNERS. God may do what God wishes. Post Old Testament, our Lord and Savior paid the price for ALL OF OUR SINS so that those who believe may be saved. That is the true story of LOVE.

      • Respectfulguest

        What did Jesus Christ ever do to non believers? Oh that’s right: preach love, forgiveness, spent time with hated tax collectors and harlots, saved harlots from being stoned, spent time talking to non Jews like the Samaritan woman, etc…

  • Ezra Tank

    Lol at the Pope.

    What a socialist wuss.

  • Phi Lemon

    “When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place, (Whoso readeth, let him understand:) then let them which be in Judea flee into the mountains… for then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be.” Matthew 24:1-3, 15-21. Dome of the Rock is the “Abomination of Desolation”

  • RfromTx

    Even Israel was “numbed” by the POTUS announcement.. (Israel can’t believe the POTUS is really serious about it).Currently there no foreign embassies in Jerusalem. The POTUS is really “bold” or “foolish” to do this first move. Either way, I hope the proposed embassy is more armored proof than the one in Benghazi.

    • SlowpokeSA

      No, they were not. Stop making things up. Read the OANN article from today. Sheesh

    • Respectfulguest

      It may have been a foolish move as the Christian clerics of the Holy Land wrote a letter to him begging him to allow the status quo…and they will be the first to know exactly what is going on there as they live there.

  • Fed Up !

    The muzzy ragheads already hate us so what’s new? We have tried to negotiate with them for centuries to no avail, It is time we let them know we will no longer deal with terrorists in any way shape or form except militarily.

  • Angrygenxr

    The barbarous, animal, savage beast Mohammed stole Jerusalem centuries after it was originally settled by…..guess who…….jews. End of discussion.

  • Angrygenxr

    Muslim and anger like corn flakes and milk.

  • Pedro Muhammad

    No such thing as Palestinian… it’s merely a propaganda talking point.

    • SlowpokeSA

      Correct. President Trump fixed that two-state problem

  • Sagev Sal

    Define “Palestinian”.

    • William Thompson

      Easy, look up “Philistine”.

    • famouswolf

      An area in the Middle East to include several modern countries that was given the name Palestine by the Roman Empire, the name being derived from another ancient people, the ‘Philistines’, who were foes of the ancient Israelites, who originally founded Jerusalem as the capital, the ‘City of David’, approximately 1500 years before the birth of islam.
      Anybody add to or adjust this?

      • Sagev Sal

        and modern day Palestinians are not even closely related.

  • Living in the Times

    This is not new news by any means:

    “In 1980, Israel passed a law stating Jerusalem was the united capital of Israel. In 1989, however, the U.S. began leasing a plot of land in Jerusalem
    that was to be the spot where a new embassy was to be built. The 99-year
    lease costs the United States $1 a year. The land remains undeveloped.
    There is a U.S. consulate in Jerusalem. In 1995, Congress
    passed a law that required the embassy to be moved to Jerusalem, saying
    if Israel claims Jerusalem as its capital, then the U.S. should respect
    that.”

  • Kyle Smith

    I love how President Trump refuses to let “warnings” and all out threats keep him from doing what is right.

  • No Mas

    The Islamic nations have been griping about this forever with the last bunch of globalist US Presidents promising while not delivering… Moving the US Embassy to Jerusalem and declaring it as the Israeli Capital simply removes it from the negotiation table that it has never previously left.
    Great Job POTUS Trump!

  • Pedro Muhammad

    When your the President you know you made the right decision when

    1. Jihadis and the rest of the Moooslums oppose you.

    2. France , England, and Canada are warning you.

    3. You do the opposite of what Barry would do.

    All clear..

    • kaiju

      You forgot to add 4. Democrats and MSM are casting doubt on you.

      • Pedro Muhammad

        They were included in the first

  • deadandwicked

    God Bless you Mr. President for standing with Israel. Like God said in Genesis 3 “I will Bless those who Bless you” and “I will curse those who curse you”. (speaking about Israel) God stands with Israel and so should we !! MAGA.

    • Living in the Times

      Well stated friend!!!

    • CCTexas

      Congratulations, extremely right on target.

      • deadandwicked

        Thanks CC. Please pray that The Lord will open a door for me to move out of Ca. and also that I might be able to move to Texas. That’s really on my heart.

        • Elephant

          As I was reading this I was thinking come to Texas! It’s a great state! I will pray God shows you a way.

          • deadandwicked

            Thanks Elephant, I covet your prayers !

        • CCTexas

          It has been my experience that when God puts something on my heart, I simply move in that direction. He takes care of everything else. Texas is open and as long as you are not a carpetbagger, like so many others that have moved here, you will find a solid good welcome. Come on down!!

  • ELMO

    My President Rocks!

    • AshJonson

      He’s My President! No, He’s My President! No, He’s My President! No, He’s My President! Lol. I love OUR President too! MAGA!

    • Living in the Times

      Mine too friend! MAGA

  • Javanne

    Trump will have started a snowball rolling down the mountain. Once again, he is proving that pragmatism and righteousness will triumph over ideology and hatred as represented by the Palestinians and Islam in general. That snowball will continue to roll, getting bigger and faster, and will ultimately crush the ideologues and hate mongers under its weight.

  • PatrickJ

    Jerusalem is the seat of Israel’s government. That being the case, then that’s where our embassy should be. Period. Thank you Mr. President.

  • …remain calm and return fire

    The Arabs are always agitated, too much sand in their shorts, I guess.

    • munchenfez

      I thought it was excrement in their craniums instead of brain tissue…

      • …remain calm and return fire

        Camel dung.

        • SlowpokeSA

          Do ya know why they call camels the Ships of the Desert?

          • …remain calm and return fire

            OK, I’ll lean into this one….why?

        • SlowpokeSA

          Do ya know why they call camels the Ships of the Desert?

  • Edman

    Terror group Hamas is calling for a “day of rage” Friday, urging Palestinians to protest President Donald Trump’s plan to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and move the U.S. Embassy there from Tel Aviv. The reaction of the Arab world, in a region bent on the destruction of Israel, the socialist EU & the Anti-Semitic Useless Nations will reverberate throughout the Lamestream News Media. Since the defeat of the Ottoman Empire during WW1, the Arab population in the Palestine region rejected, abstained, & denied any government or idea of co-government that included the Jewish or Christian population. The “All Inclusive” socialist societies are proven hypocrites in the protection & dedication to the Anti-Semitic & Anti-Christian PLO.

  • HML

    What’s going to happen? Another Jihad against us, what, that’s like a hundred now?

    • kaiju

      Maybe they think that hurling threats is going to get them more appeasement cash from America.
      There is only one way to deal with them. You have to do what’s right and defeat them and their terror whenever they try to use it.

  • Sonny Shaw

    I hope it is just not all take and President trump does state the obvious that Jerusalem is the capital of Israel and the US is moving it Embassy to Jerusalem. Russia just did that and not a peep out of the Muslims. Do it Mr. President and let the idiot Muslims know they have no say in US policy.

    • Ezra Tank

      Russia’s embassy is not in Jerusalem, it’s in Tel Aviv.

      • Sonny Shaw

        Yes, but the Russians announced that Jerusalem was the capital of the State of Israel.