Washington: US President Donald Trump has recognised Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and announced plans to relocate the US embassy, currently based in Tel Aviv, to the city.
In his live televised address from White House last night, Trump said, it was a long overdue step. He also directed the State Department to immediately begin the process of construction of US embassy in Jerusalem.
At the same time, US President reiterated his commitment to the two-state solution to the Israel-Palestine conflict. He said, United States remains deeply committed to helping facilitate a peace agreement that is acceptable to both sides.
President Trump recognised that the specific boundaries of Israeli sovereignty in Jerusalem are subject to final status negotiations between the parties and reaffirmed the United States’ support for the status quo at the Temple Mount, also known as Haram al Sharif.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has hailed the US decision. He termed it as historic and a courageous and just decision. Netanyahu also pledged no change to the status quo at Jerusalem’s highly sensitive holy sites in the city.
The US announcement, long-sought by Israel, breaks with decades of Washington policy as well as the international consensus.
World leaders have urged Trump to reconsider his decision and warned that it could derail peace efforts and stir unrest in the region and beyond.
The status of Jerusalem – home to sites holy to Muslims, Jews and Christians – is one of the core issues in the perennial Israeli-Palestinian conflict.