Trump to declare Jerusalem as Israeli capital
U.S. senior officials said Tuesday that U.S. President Donald Trump on Wednesday will recognize Jerusalem as the capital city of Israel and move the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.
A view of Jerusalem's old city is seen Tuesday, Dec. 5, 2017. [Photo: AP]
Trump's move is likely to spark further tensions in the Middle East and undermine the U.S. standing as a peace mediator of the Palestine-Israel issue.
Trump "will recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel," the officials told reporters at a teleconference, explaining that the U.S. president "views this as a recognition of reality, both historical reality and ... modern reality."
Trump will also "direct the State Department to begin the process of moving the United States' embassy from its current location in Tel Aviv to a site in Jerusalem," said the officials on the condition of anonymity, adding this will take years to finish.
"That does not mean the embassy will move tomorrow," they said, adding that there are about 1,000 personnel in the Tel Aviv embassy. "It will take some time to find a site, address security concerns, design a new facility, find a new facility ... and build it, so this is not an instantaneous process."
Although the U.S. Congress passed the Jerusalem Embassy Act of 1995 which required the relocation of the U.S. embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, former U.S. presidents, including George W. Bush, Bill Clinton and Barack Obama, consistently renewed a presidential waiver to delay the relocation out of consideration for national security interests.
The status of Jerusalem remains one of the core issues in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. So far, the international community does not recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and no foreign countries base their embassies in the city.