Washington: US President Donald Trump will recognise Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and will direct the State Department to initiate the process of moving the American embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, according to senior administration officials.
According to senior administration officials, Trump is expected to make the announcement along with his policy at about 1 pm (local time) on Wednesday (11.30 pm IST).
“The President would say that the US government recognises that Jerusalem is the capital of Israel. He views this as recognition of historic reality. Jerusalem has been capital of Jewish people since ancient times and modern reality that it has been the seat of government, important ministries, its legislature, the Supreme court,” a senior administration official told reporters on the eve of Trump’s much anticipated announcement on Jerusalem.
In his remarks, Trump will also direct the State Department to initiate the process of moving the US Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.
Noting that finding appropriate land and construction of a new embassy would take at least a couple of years, officials said Trump would continue to give waiver as required by the Congress — for not moving its diplomatic mission to Jerusalem.
In taking this action, another senior administration official said, Trump will fulfill a major campaign promise that has been made by a number of previous presidential candidates.
Trump’s action enjoys broad bipartisan support in the Congress.
Such a move which is being opposed by the countries in the Middle East, is unlikely to have an impact on the two- state solution to the Israel-Palestine conflict, the official said.
“Trump remains committed to achieving a lasting peace agreement between the Palestinians and Israel, and is optimistic that peace can be achieved,” the official said, adding that not recognising Jerusalem as capital of Israel has done nothing to achieve peace for more than two decades.
Earlier, Trump spoke over phone with a number of world leaders in the Middle East to share his decision on Jerusalem, the White House said.
Trump spoke separately with Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Palestine President Mahmoud Abbas, King Abdullah II of Jordan, President Abdel Fattah Al Sisi of Egypt, and King Salman Bin Abdulaziz Al Saud of Saudi Arabia.
Meanwhile, the State Department warned US embassies around the world to prepare for possible protests and violence and banned travel by government employees and their families to Jerusalem’s Old City and the West Bank.