President Donald Trump signalled a major U-turn in US foreign policy on Wednesday, signalling the recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.
In a White House speech, Trump said that moving the US Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem was long overdue and described the recognition as helpful to the peace process. He recalled that he is only delivering on a campaign promise, that the decision was nothing more than the recognition of “reality,” and that it was “the right thing to do.”
Israel regards Jerusalem as is indivisible capital. However, the international community views Jerusalem as an occupied territory captured in 1967 whose final status would be the final chapter of a two-state solution. In previous stages of the negotiation, there had been consensus that Palestine and Israel would share Jerusalem as a capital.
The US passed a law in 1995 that requires moving its Embassy to Jerusalem. However, it’s implementation has been suspended by every US President, including George W. Bush. With Wednesday’s decision, Washington alienated most of its allies.
In a statement issued in Brussels, the EU calls for a resumption of negotiations calling Jerusalem the future capital of both Israel and Palestine. The UK followed the same diplomatic line, calling Jerusalem’s status the subject of negotiation in a final peace process.
The Arab League issued a common statement warning of “repercussions” for the region, while King Salman of Saudi Arabia personally called President Trump to dissuade him from this decision. Iran expressed “despair” with the decision.
The immediate response of the Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas is that Washington is no longer regarded a peace broker. The Pope called for respect of the status quo in the Middle East, while both Russian and China expressed concerns for the stability of the region. Turkey pointed out that the decision violates successive US resolutions.