Trump Intent to Name Jerusalem Capital of Israel Sparks Controversy in Middle East

On Wednesday, President Trump will announce to the U.S. that Jerusalem is to be recognized as the capital of Israel, most likely disrupting peace further between Israel and Palestine. The current Israeli U.S. embassy, which is located in Tel Aviv, would enter a process to begin to it’s move to Jerusalem over the next few years.

Although Israeli officials are rejoicing in light of the recent decision, other leaders in the Middle East are calling for caution as relations in the area are fragile. On Tuesday, President Trump spoke with Palestinian and Arab leaders who stated this change could bring further violence to the region.

King Salman warned:

“Moving the U.S. embassy is a dangerous step that provokes the feelings of Muslims around the world,”

Later Tuesday night, Islamic groups in Palestine called for three days of protest or “days of rage” against the presidents decision, and would include demonstrations at United States embassies throughout the world.

Administration officials who spoke on the condition that they remained anonymous, refused to acknowledge that peace would be disrupted by the decision, but also could not elaborate on how the move would further any peace discussions. They have insisted that the change in policy would not harm the likelihood of reaching peace.

One official stated:

“While President Trump recognizes that the status of Jerusalem is a highly sensitive issue, he does not think it will be resolved by ignoring the simple truth that Jerusalem is home to Israel’s legislature, its supreme court, its prime minister and as such is the capital of Israel,”

Trump does however, plan on signing a waiver that will keep the U.S. embassy in Tel Aviv for another 6 months, but still intends on having the embassy moved in years to come. A law passed in 1995 arranged for the move of the embassy to Jerusalem, but also allows the acting president to postpone the move in 6 month increments.

Jerusalem has been contested for years between religious groups that claim it to be sacred. Protests and violence have been seen in this region in the past and could be easily re-ignited by the policy changes. Diplomats in the area have been warned about the responses that may follow.

Responses of disapproval were also received by officials from Qatar, Egypt, and Jordan. The foreign policy chief of the European Union, Federica Mogherini, also spoke out in an appearance with secretary of state Rex Tillerson, stating that any action that may disrupt peace agreements in the region “must absolutely be avoided,”.



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