Trump urges recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital despite opposition
WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump forged ahead Tuesday with plans to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, despite various threats from some Arab nations.
Trump also told the leaders of the Palestinian Authority and Jordan in phone calls that he intends to move the U.S. Embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. It remains unclear, however, when he might take that physical step.
Trump is to publicly address the question of Jerusalem on Wednesday.
U.S. officials familiar with his planning said he would declare Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. The United States has never endorsed the Jewish state’s claim of sovereignty over any part of Jerusalem and has insisted its status be resolved through Israeli-Palestinian negotiation.
The consideration of Trump changing the status quo sparked a renewed U.S. security warning on Tuesday. America’s consulate in Jerusalem ordered U.S. personnel and their families to avoid visiting Jerusalem’s Old City or the West Bank, and urged American citizens in general to avoid places with increased police or military presence.
Trump, as a presidential candidate, repeatedly promised to move the U. S. embassy. However, U.S. leaders have routinely and unceremoniously delayed such a move since President Bill Clinton signed a law in 1995 stipulating that the United States must relocate its diplomatic presence to Jerusalem unless the commander in chief issues a waiver on national security grounds.
Trump is likely to do the same, U.S. officials said, though less quietly. That’s why he plans to couple the waiver with the declaration of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, according to the officials who weren’t authorized to speak publicly on the matter and demanded anonymity.
Key national security advisers including Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Defense Secretary Jim Mattis have urged caution, according to the officials, who said Trump has been receptive to some of their concerns.
U.S. officials, along with an outside adviser to the administration, said they expected a broad statement from Trump about Jerusalem’s status as the “capital of Israel.” The president isn’t planning to use the phrase “undivided capital,” according to the officials. Such terminology is favored by Israeli officials including Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and would imply Israel’s sovereignty over east Jerusalem, which the Palestinians seek for their own future capital.
Ahmed Aboul-Gheit, the head of the Arab League, urged the U.S. to reconsider any recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, warning of “repercussions.” Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan told his Parliament such recognition was a “red line” and that Turkey could respond by cutting diplomatic ties with Israel.