President Donald Trump has announced that the US formally recognises Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and will begin the process of moving its embassy to the city, breaking with decades of US policy.
“I have determined that it is time to officially recognise Jerusalem as the capital of Israel,” the president said.
Trump said he ordered the State Department to develop plan to relocate the American embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.
He added he is not taking position on any final status issues, including contested borders. Trump said he intends “to do everything” in his power to help forge a peace deal between Israelis and Palestinians.
US analysts say Trump’s announcement might be intended as an opening move in the administration’s yet-to-be revealed Middle East peace plan, but risks igniting a “powder keg” at the heart of the Israel-Palestine conflict.
The immediate grounds for Trump’s announcement was the expiration of the latest six-month waiver delaying relocation of the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.
The 1995 Jerusalem Embassy Act requires the US government to establish an embassy in Jerusalem, but allows the president to delay doing so by signing a waiver every six months. The waiver spares the state department financial penalties for failing to comply with the law.
Presidents Bush and Obama signed the waiver twice per year with little fanfare. However, Trump has long hinted he would deviate from his predecessors.
Source: Al Jazeera