President Donald Trump on Wednesday said the United States is going to acknowledge Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, and he formally declared that the U.S. Embassy will relocate there from Tel Aviv.
“It is time to officially recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel,” Trump said from the White House on Wednesday, pointing out that it is in the best interest of the U.S. and the pursuit of peace between Israel and the Palestinians.
There is an ongoing conflict between Israel and Palestine that dates back to the mid-20th Century, with origins in the Jewish migration, as well as the conflict between Jews and Arabs in Palestine. It is known as the world’s “most intractable conflict.”
While there is a long-term peace outlook, there has been no final peace agreement between Israelis and Palestinians. Key issues of the conflict include mutual recognition, borders, water rights, control of Jerusalem and other disputes.
“Israel is a sovereign nation with the right to determine its own capital; acknowledging this as a fact is a necessary condition for achieving peace,” Trump said Wednesday.
For more than two decades, Presidents have exercised a waiver to refuse to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and keep the U.S. Embassy there.
His decision, however, “marks the beginning of a new approach to the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians,” Trump said.
“After more than two decades of waivers, we’re no closer to a peace agreement between Israel and the Palestinians. It’s folly to assume repeating the same formula would improve the situation,” Trump pointed out.
Jerusalem is home to Israel’s Parliament and Supreme Court, and the official residences of the Prime Minister and President, he said. “It’s the heart of one of the most successful democracies in the world.”
Jerusalem is a place where “Jews, Muslims and Christians are free to live and worship according to their beliefs,” Trump said.
Recognizing Jerusalem as the capital and relocating the U.S. Embassy “doesn’t reflect a departure from our goal of a peace agreement,” Trump said, pointing out that his administration will not “repeat the same failed strategies of the past.”