Why Trump drew ire for Jerusalem move
United States President Donald Trump’s announcement that the US recognises Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and that it will move its embassy to the holy city has been widely condemned.
In doing so, Trump is breaking with longtime US policy and potentially threatening regional stability, despite warnings from Western and Arab allies.
Trump’s decision was a campaign promise on the US election trail, but could possibly drive a wedge between Israel and the Palestinians.
Globally, the move has been condemned, with Turkey, Egypt and Iran rejecting Trump’s announcement.
Even the Pope has voiced deep concern over the plan.
Why did Trump plan to recognise Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and move the embassy there?
There has long been pressure from proIsrael politicians in the United States to move its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, and Trump made it a signature promise of his campaign during the 2016 presidential election.
It is a decision that will likely be popular with many conservative and evangelical Christians in his political base. Many of them support political recognition of Israel’s claim to the city.
US Vice-President Mike Pence and David Friedman, the ambassador to Israel appointed by Trump, are thought to have pushed hard for both recognition and embassy relocation.
The city has been fought over for millenniums by its inhabitants.
Why does Jerusalem play such an important role in the Middle East conflict?
Religion, politics and history.
Jerusalem is a city that is sacred to three of the great monotheistic faiths: Judaism, Christianity and Islam, and each has sites of great religious significance there.
It has been fought over for millenniums by its inhabitants, by invading Romans, Crusaders, Ottomans and the British Empire, and by the modern states of Israel and its Arab neighbours.
Israel’s government regards Jerusalem as the eternal and indivisible capital of the country, although that is not recognised internationally.
Palestinians feel equally strongly, saying that East Jerusalem must be the capital of an eventual Palestinian state.
The city even has different names.
Ultra Orthodox Jewish men pray at the Western Wall in the Old City in Jerusalem.