[HOT] – U.S. to Recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s Capital, Trump Says, Alarming Middle East Leaders

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WASHINGTON – President Trump plans to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and to move the US Embassy there, reversing nearly seven decades of US foreign policy and potentially destroying its efforts to negotiate peace between Israel and the Palestinians.

Trump's decision, a high-risk incursion into the thicket of the Middle East, was not motivated by diplomatic calculations but by an election promise. He appealed to the fiercely pro-Israel American evangelicals and Jews in 2016 promising to move the embassy, ​​and councilors said Tuesday that he was determined to keep his promise.

But the president, faced with a deadline last Monday to make this decision, still plans to sign a waiver of national security to keep the embassy in Tel Aviv for six more months, even though that he set in motion a plan to move him to Jerusalem. Officials said the process would take several years.

Most significant, Mr. Trump is to announce his formal recognition of Jerusalem as the Israeli capital in a formal White House speech on Wednesday, when he will become the first US President to take this step since the founding of the United States. Israel in 1948.

Mr. Trump spent Tuesday morning explaining the policy change in the phone calls with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu; Mahmoud Abbas, president of the Palestinian Authority; and to Arab leaders who warned it would disrupt the peace process, perhaps fatally, and could trigger a new wave of violence in the region.

"Moving the US embassy is a dangerous move that causes feelings According to Saudi public television, King Salman of Saudi Arabia told Mr. Trump in his appeal:

Late Tuesday, Palestinian and national Palestinian groups issued a joint statement calling for three days of "popular anger" to protest against Trump's decision, starting Wednesday in the Palestinian territories and at demonstrations at embassies and embassies. Consulates of the United States around the world

Fearing attacks, the US consulate to go to the old city or the West Bank, while the State Department urged embassies around the world to strengthen their security.

Jerusalem is one of the most ferocious in the world have contested parts of the real estate, the two sides fighting over the claims. On the other hand, West Jerusalem is the seat of the Israeli government, but the Palestinians regard East Jerusalem as the capital of a future Palestinian state, and most of the world considers it to be an occupied territory. The Old City of Jerusalem has the third holiest mosque in Islam and the most sacred site of Judaism, making the status of the city a sensitive topic for Muslims and Jews worldwide

. Trump's decision was applauded by some in Israel and the United States, even though Netanyahu and the Israeli government were cautiously silent before the president's speech.

"The US Recognizing Jerusalem as Capital An important step, especially as part of Palestinian efforts to undermine the historical ties between the Jewish nation and the City of David," said Amos Yadlin, executive director of The Institute of National Security Studies of Tel Aviv University

The Zionist Organization of America said: "It is high time to transfer the Embassy in Jerusalem. "He added:" Do not move him to Jerusalem for 22 years did not bring us closer to peace. "

White House Officials said Mr. Trump remained attached to what he called "the final agreement" between Israel and the Palestinians. The decision, they said, was "recognition of the current and historical reality". They said that it could accelerate, rather than hinder, peace negotiations by removing a source of ambiguity from the US position.

Trump, officials said, should clarify that the United States does not take a position on whether, or how, Jerusalem is divided between Israel and the Palestinians. Nor will he take a stance on a disputed area of ​​the Old City, known as the Temple Mount to the Jews and the Haram al-Sharif to the Muslims, which has been a tense point for tension.

But even with these caveats, Trump's decision seems likely to disrupt, if not dissolve, the peace effort. Officials said they expected the Palestinians to move away from the process, at least for the time being. The White House is preparing for an eruption of violence, coordinating plans with several agencies to protect US citizens abroad.

"You can do everything you want, but Jerusalem does not allow finesse" Martin S. Indyk, former US ambassador to Israel. "They can try to limit all the damage they want, but they will not be able to do it, because Jerusalem is a burning problem."

To a certain extent, Mr. Trump's willingness to take such a step The risk highlights how little progress his peace negotiators – led by his son-in-law, Jared Kushner – have made. Six months ago, when the president had to decide to sign a waiver to maintain the embassy in Tel Aviv, Mr Kushner persuaded Mr Trump to do so, in the interests of the peace process .

Since then, however, the efforts of the administration have shown little evidence of reducing the differences between Israelis and Palestinians. Kushner and Jason D. Greenblatt, the president's special envoy, backed Trump's decision, the authorities said.

The Trump pledge was extremely popular with pro-Israel evangelicals and supporters, including casino mogul Sheldon Adelson, who donated $ 25 million to a committee. political action supporting Mr Trump during the presidential campaign. Mr Adelson expressed his anger when Mr Trump signed the waiver in June to keep the Embassy in Tel Aviv.

The White House, which did little to lay the foundation for the move, contacted pro-Israel on Tuesday The leaders of the Jewish and Christian communities invite them to a conference call scheduled for Wednesday afternoon, according to a guest who spoke about it under cover of anonymity because he did not want to jeopardize his relationship with Mr. Trump's team.

Mr. Klein was among several supporters who asked why the move of the embassy would take several years. Former diplomats have said that the United States could move the embassy just by hanging a new sign outside the US consulate in Jerusalem.

White House officials however stated that the lawyers of the Administration Act 1995, under which Congress instructed the President to move the Embassy and asked him sign a waiver every six months to delay it. According to the authorities, the United States should also move the staff of the Embassy in the building

The reaction to the arrival of Mr. Trump in the Arab world was swift and negative, even from normally friendly leaders

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King Abdullah II of Jordan warned against this measure, "stressing that Jerusalem is the key to achieving peace and stability in the region and the world," according to a statement from the royal palace of 39; Amman. The Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan is the guardian of the Al Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem.

"King Abdullah emphasized that the adoption of this resolution would have serious implications for security and stability in the Middle East and would undermine the efforts of the US administration to resume the process peace and nurture the feelings of Muslims and Christians, "the statement said.

Few details of the conversation between Mr. Trump and Mr. Abbas were published, but a spokesman for Palestine. The Liberation Organization said the call had shaped the worst fears of Palestinians.

"It's very serious," said the PLO. spokesperson, Xavier Abu Eid. "Things look very bad." The Palestinian news agency, WAFA, quoted Abbas spokesman Nabil Abu Rudeineh as saying that Abbas would continue his contacts with world leaders to prevent "unacceptable action".

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Mark Landler reported from Washington, and David M. Halbfinger of Jerusalem. Julie Hirschfeld Davis contributed to the reportage of Washington

A version of this article is printed on on Page To 1 From the edition of New York ] with the title: Trump's promise on Jerusalem rattles the Middle East . Order Reprints | Paper of today | Subscribe

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