Washington: US recognises Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, a move long overdue to advance the Israel-Palestine peace process, US President Donald Trump said marking a major shift in US policy.
“I have determined that it is time to officially recognise 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,” he said.
“This is the best course of action to be in the best interests of the United States of America, and the pursuit of peace between Israel and the Palestinians,” he said.
“The US remains deeply committed to helping facilitate a peace agreement that is acceptable to both sides,” he said. “I intend to do everything in my power to help forge such an agreement.”
While the US would support two-state solution for lasting peace if agreed upon by both Israelis and Palestinians, it would be up to the two parties to sort out sensitive issues like border.
“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,” Trump said.
He said recognising Jerusalem as Israel’s capital is in line with the Jerusalem Embassy Act passed by Congress in 1995.
The president said he was directing the US State Department to begin preparations to move the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. The process may take years.
While Trump’s embassy move and recognition of Jerusalem as capital of Israel will please Israelis, it may trigger violence in the region and derail the Israel-Palestine peace process.
Responding to Trump’s announcement, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said Jerusalem was the eternal capital of the State of Palestine.
Trump’s announcement to recognise Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and moving the embassy there is a declaration
of Washington‘s withdrawal from the peace process, he said.
Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu tweeted that Trump’s decision is against international law and relevant UN Resolutions.