Trump Recognizes Jerusalem as Israel’s Capital, Calls for Moving Embassy There

By Melanie Arter | December 6, 2017 | 2:43 PM EST

President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence (Screenshot of White House video)

(CNSNews.com) - President Donald Trump on Wednesday announced that the U.S. will recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and has instructed the State Department to move the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, thereby fulfilling his campaign promise.

“When I came into office, I promised to look at the world’s challenges with open eyes and very fresh thinking. We cannot solve our problems by making the same failed assumptions and repeating the same failed strategies of the past. All challenges demand new approaches,” he said.

“My announcement today marks the beginning of a new approach to conflict between Israel and the Palestinians. In 1995, Congress adopted the Jerusalem Embassy Act, urging the federal government to relocate the American embassy to Jerusalem and recognize that that city and so importantly is Israel’s capital. This act passed Congress by an overwhelming bipartisan majority and was reaffirmed by unanimous vote of the Senate only six months ago,” the president said.

“Yet, for over 20 years, every previous American president has exercised the law’s waiver, refusing to move the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem or to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital city. Presidents issued these waivers under the belief that delaying the recognition of Jerusalem will advance the cause of peace,” Trump said.

“Some say they lacked courage, but they made their best judgment based on facts as they understood them at the time. Nevertheless, the record is in. After more than two decades of waivers, we are no closer to a lasting peace agreement between Israel and the Palestinians,” he said.

“It would be folly to assume that repeating the exact same formula would now produce a different or better result. Therefore, I have determined that it is time to officially recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel,” Trump added. “Acknowledging this as a fact is is a necessary condition for achieving peace.”

The president said that President Harry Truman recognized the state of Israel over 70 years ago. He noted that Jerusalem is “the seat of the modern Israeli government” as well as “the home of the Israeli Parliament, the Knesset, as well as the Israeli Supreme Court.”

“It is the location of the official residence of the prime minister and the president. It is the headquarters of many government ministries,” he said. Furthermore, it is the place where U.S. presidents, secretaries of state and military leaders meet with their Israeli counterparts when visiting Israel as the president did during his trip to the Middle East earlier this year.

“Jerusalem is not just the heart of three great religions, but it is now also the heart of one of the most successful democracies in the world,” the president said. “Over the past seven decades, the Israeli people have built a country where Jews, Muslims, and Christians and people of all faiths are free to live and worship according to their conscience and according to their beliefs.

“Jerusalem is today and must remain a place where Jews pray at the Western wall, where Christians walk the stations of the cross and where Muslims worship at Al Aqsa Mosque. However, through all of these years, presidents representing the United States have declined to officially recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital,” Trump said.

“In fact, we have declined to acknowledge any Israeli capital at all, but today we finally acknowledge the obvious, that Jerusalem is Israel’s capital. This is nothing more or less than a recognition of reality. It is also the right thing to do. It’s something that has to be done,” he said.

“That is why consistent with the Jerusalem Embassy Act, I am also directing the State Department to begin preparation to move the American embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. This will immediately begin the process of hiring architects, engineers, and planners so that a new embassy when completed will be a magnificent tribute to peace,” Trump said.

The president clarified that his decision does not “reflect a departure from our strong commitment to facilitate a lasting peace agreement.”

“We want an agreement that is a great deal for the Israelis and a great deal for the Palestinians. We are not taking a position of any final status issues, including the specific boundaries, Israeli sovereignty in Jerusalem or the resolution of contested borders. Those questions are up to the parties involved. The United States remains deeply committed to helping facilitate a peace agreement that is acceptable to both sides,” Trump said.

“I intend to do everything in my power to help forge such an agreement,” he said. “Without question, Jerusalem is one of the most sensitive issues in those talks. The United States would support a two-state solution if agreed to both sides. In the meantime, I call on all parties to maintain the status quo at Jerusalem’s holy sites, including the Temple Mount, also known as Haram ash Sharif.”

 


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