Trump likely to recognise Jerusalem as Israel's capital next week
WASHINGTON, Dec 2 ( Reuters) - President Donald Trump is likely to announce next week that the US recognises Jerusalem as Israel's capital, a senior administration official said on Friday, a move that would upend decades of American policy and possibly inflame tensions in the Middle East.
Trump could make the controversial declaration in a speech on Wednesday though he is also expected to again delay his campaign promise to move the US embassy to Jerusalem from Tel Aviv. The senior official and two other government sources said final decisions had not yet been made.
The Palestinians want Jerusalem as the capital of their future state, and the international community does not recognise Israel's claim on all of the city, home to sites holy to the Jewish, Muslim and Christian religions.
Word of Trump's planned announcement, which would deviate from previous US presidents who have insisted the Jerusalem's status must be decided in negotiations, drew criticism from the Palestinian Authority and was sure to anger the broader Arab world.
It could also unravel the US administration's fledgling diplomatic effort, led by Trump's son-in-law and senior adviser Jared Kushner, to restart longstalled Israeli-Palestinian peace talks and enlist the support of US Arab allies.
Nabil Abu Rdainah, spokesman for Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, said US recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital would “destroy the peace process” and “destabilise the region.” Such a move, however, could help satisfy the pro-Israel, right-wing base that helped Trump win the presidency and also please the Israeli government, a US ally.
The senior US official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said details were still being finalised and could change. Tump's impending decisions on Jerusalem, one of the most sensitive core issues of the IsraeliPalestinian conflict, follow internal deliberations in which the president has weighed in, a White House aide said.
Ultra Orthodox Jews look at the city of Jerusalem from the Mount of Olives. Dome of the Rock mosque is on the right. AFP