On Wednesday, December 6, President Trump will proclaim Jerusalem as the capital of the state of Israel, the White House has confirmed. 

On Wednesday, December 6, Jerusalem will be officially recognized as the capital of the state of Israel.  President Trump will make two major announcements regarding the US-Israeli policy, the White House has confirmed during the off-camera background briefing. 

1. President Trump will recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital

The White House is justifying this risky political move as a result of the “historical and modern realities” that see Jerusalem as the seed of modern government.

2. POTUS will direct the State Department to move the US embassy to Israel

The White House officials said that the move will take time as the US will need to find the site for the embassy, design and fund the new facility. “This will be a matter of years, it won’t be months”, said the White House official.  

On June 1,  2017, Trump signed the waiver that delayed for six months any plans to relocate the US Embassy to Jerusalem.  The Trump administration was concerned that recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel may jeopardize the safety of the US embassies throughout the Middle East. In the wake of the new announcements, marines are sent into positions to defend potential diplomatic targets and the US installations. The State Department is warning U.S. diplomats of the possible eruptions of violence and demonstrations in the region.

The six-month period from the signing of the waiver expired on Dec. 1, and the White House has confirmed that Trump will sign a new waiver delaying the embassy move for six months, citing the logistical challenges of moving US personnel to the new location in Jerusalem. 

Why is this relevant for Trump’s voters?

By recognizing Jerusalem the capital of Israel, Trump will fulfill his major campaign promises. “When I become president, the days of treating Israel like a second-class citizen will end on day one,” Trump said in 2016, addressing the American Israel Public Affairs Committee.

Following his campaign promises, Trump wants to be the first American president who will do something regarding Jerusalem despite the warnings about the violent consequences such decision may produce.

According to the WH officials, Trump’s forthcoming announcement “enjoys broad bipartisan support in Congress.”

How will this affect US relations with Palestine?

Political expert on Palestine, Umair Ghantiwala, told The Pavlovic Today that he believes that the American recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital will worsen Israeli-Palestinian relations.

“Presently, Jerusalem is divided into East and West, and although Israel has jurisdiction over the entire city, the Eastern half is what Palestinians hope will be the capital of their future state. Presently, no country believes in Israeli sovereignty over Jerusalem, but if the U.S. declares it so, this will only empower Israeli ambitions to demolish more Palestinian neighborhoods in the city’s Eastern half,” says Ghantiwala.

“Palestinians have been disappointed and betrayed for decades,” he continues “and the American declaration of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital could be the nail in the coffin. Israel’s greatest and strongest ally aiding with them on this issue makes the possibility of a future Palestinian state even less likely than it currently is, or perhaps even impossible. Other nations may follow the US if they choose to move their embassy to Jerusalem, and the stronger Israel feels on the international stage, it is possible that they will attempt to rid the city of Palestinians. Lastly, the American declaration of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital would make Palestinians feel that even in the location of Islam’s third holiest site (Al Aqsa Mosque), they are powerless and are at the mercy of Jerusalem’s Jewish residents.”

Jerusalem has been for decades at the center of peacemaking. Donald Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel threatens to undermine international consensus and cause instability in the Middle East.Trump says however that he is fully committed to maintaining peace between Palestine and Israel. 

The White House says that announcement does not change US policy toward Palestine

“President Mahmoud Abbas received a telephone call from US president Donald Trump in which he notified the president of his intention to move the American embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem,”  spokesman Nabil Abu Rdainah said. Mahmoud Abbas warned Trump that his decision would have great consequences for peace and stability in the region. King Abdullah and Saudi Arabia, share the same opinion. French President Macron said that he thought it was a bad idea.  At the Berlin Foreign Policy Forum held by the Körber-Stiftung Foundation, Germany’s Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel joined the group of leaders who warned against a unilateral American recognition of Jerusalem as the Israeli capital. “The German stance on this question remains unchanged: The solution to the Jerusalem question can only be found through direct contacts between the two sides. Anything that could exacerbate the crisis is counterproductive,” Gabriel said.

However,  the President Trump has decided to ignore diplomatic advice from world leaders and go ahead with this unilateral move. During the press briefing on Tuesday, Press Secretary said that President will: “ make what he feels is the best decision for the United States.”

The President  will  give an official statement on Jerusalem from the Diplomatic Reception Room at 13:00 EST on Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Read also: Kerry’s Speech On The Israeli-Palestinian Conflict Came Too Late

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