US senior officials say Trump to recognize Jerusalem as Israeli capital, move embassy there

Xinhua
US senior officials said Tuesday US President Donald Trump on Wednesday will recognize Jerusalem as the capital city of Israel and move the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.
Xinhua
Imaginechina

An American flag flies outside the US Embassy in Tel Aviv, Israel, December 2, 2017. 

US senior officials said Tuesday that US President Donald Trump on Wednesday will recognize Jerusalem as the capital city of Israel and move the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

Trump's move is likely to spark further tensions in the Middle East and undermine the US standing as a peace mediator of the Palestine-Israel issue.

Trump "will recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel," the officials told reporters at a teleconference, explaining that the US president "views this as a recognition of reality, both historical reality and ... modern reality."

Trump will also "direct the State Department to begin the process of moving the United States' embassy from its current location in Tel Aviv to a site in Jerusalem," said the officials on the condition of anonymity, adding this will take years to finish.

"That does not mean the embassy will move tomorrow," they said, adding that there are about 1,000 personnel in the Tel Aviv embassy. "It will take some time to find a site, address security concerns, design a new facility, find a new facility ... and build it, so this is not an instantaneous process."

Although the US Congress passed the Jerusalem Embassy Act of 1995 which required the relocation of the US embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, former US presidents, including George W. Bush, Bill Clinton and Barack Obama, consistently renewed a presidential waiver to delay the relocation out of consideration for national security interests.

The status of Jerusalem remains one of the core issues in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. So far, the international community does not recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and no foreign countries base their embassies in the city.

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