U.S. President Trump on Wednesday announced that the time has come for the U.S. to officially recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and re-locate the U.S. embassy, despite facing opposition from Arabs, Britain, and France.
President Trump cited the decision by the U.S. Congress on October 23, 1995 to pass the Jerusalem Embassy Act which initiates and funds the relocation of the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.
Previous U.S. presidents such as President Clinton, President Bush, and President Obama have refused to observe the decision by U.S. Congress to approve the Jerusalem Embassy Act in 1995 on grounds that the decision represents Congressional infringement on the executive branch’s constitutional authority over foreign policy and relied on waivers to avoid the move while citing national security interests.
Admitting that his announcement marks the beginning of a “new approach” to the conflict between Israel and Palestinians, President Trump noted that previous U.S. presidents have used waivers by refusing to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and move the U.S. embassy from its current home in Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.
“After more than two decades of waivers, we are no closer to a lasting peace agreement between Israel and the Palestinians. It would be folly to assume that repeating the exact same formula would now produce a different or better result” President Trump said.
President Trump said that he’s judged this course of action to be in the best interests of the U.S. and the pursuit of peace between Israel and Palestinians.
“Israel is a sovereign nation with the right like every other sovereign nation to determine its own capital. Acknowledging this as a fact is a necessary condition for achieving peace” said President Trump in a statement.
Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh criticized the decision by U.S. President Trump, claiming that it has killed the peace process, Oslo accord, and settlement process.
He called for a new Palestinian intifada, or uprising against Israel.
U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May was critical of President Trump’s decision and said in a statement on Wednesday that it is unhelpful to help the prospects for peace.
“We disagree with he U.S. decision to move its embassy to Jerusalem and recognize Jerusalem as the Israeli capital before a final status agreement. We believe that it is unhelpful in terms of prospects for peace in the region. The British embassy to Israel is based in Tel Aviv and we have no plans to move it” Prime Minister May said in a statement on Wednesday.
May explained that the status of Jerusalem should be a shared capital between Israeli and Palestinian states and in line with relevant Security Council Resolutions, “we regard East Jerusalem as part of the Occupied Palestinian Territories.”
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in a statement on Wednesday that we are grateful for President Trump’s “courageous and just decision” to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and to prepare for the opening of the U.S. embassy in the city.
Prime Minister Netanyahu explained that the decision “reflects the President’s commitment to an ancient but enduring truth, to fulfilling his promises and to advancing peace.”
PM Netanyahu said there is no peace that doesn’t include Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and he shares President Trump’s commitment to advancing peace between Israel and their neighbors, including the Palestinians.
Netanyahu pointed out there will be no change whatsoever to the status quo at holy sites and admitted the Jewish people and the Jewish state will be “forever grateful.”
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