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Trump forges ahead on Jerusalem-as-capital

  • Jerusalem’s Old City is seen trough a door with the shape of star of David. ap file photo

  • Palestinian burn a poster of the U.S. President Donald Trump during a protest in Bethlehem, West Bank, Tuesday, Dec. 6, 2017. President Trump forged ahead Tuesday with plans to recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital despite intense Arab, Muslim and European opposition to a move that would upend decades of U.S. policy and risk potentially violent protests. (AP Photo/Mahmoud Illean) Mahmoud Illean

  • A view of Jerusalem's old city is seen Tuesday, Dec. 5, 2017. U.S. officials have said that President Trump may recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital this week as a way to offset his likely decision to delay his campaign promise of moving the U.S. Embassy there. Trump's point-man on the Middle East, son-in-law Jared Kushner, later said the president hasn't decided yet what steps to take. (AP Photo/Oded Balilty) Oded Balilty

  • FILE - In this Sept. 24, 2015 file photo, Palestinians pray during the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Adha, near the Dome of the Rock Mosque in the Al Aqsa Mosque compound in Jerusalem's old city. Saudi Arabia has spoken out strongly against any possible U.S. recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. In a statement on the state-run Saudi Press Agency, the Foreign Ministry said Tuesday, Dec. 5, 2017, that the kingdom affirms the rights of Palestinian people regarding Jerusalem which it said “cannot be changed.” (AP Photo/Mahmoud Illean, File) Mahmoud Illean

  • Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan gestures as he delivers a speech during a meeting of his ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), in Ankara, Turkey, Tuesday, Dec. 5, 2017. Erdogan says U.S. recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital is a 'red line' for Muslims and also said such a step would lead Turkey to cut off all diplomatic ties with Israel. (Yasin Bulbul/Pool via AP) YASIN BULBUL

  • Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan waves as he arrives to deliver a speech during a meeting of his ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), in Ankara, Turkey, Tuesday, Dec. 5, 2017. Erdogan says U.S. recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital is a 'red line' for Muslims and also said such a step would lead Turkey to cut off all diplomatic ties with Israel. (Yasin Bulbul/Pool via AP) YASIN BULBUL



Associated Press
Tuesday, December 05, 2017

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump forged ahead Tuesday with plans to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital despite intense Arab, Muslim and European opposition to a move that would upend decades of U.S. policy and risk potentially violent protests.

Trump also told the leaders of the Palestinian Authority and Jordan in phone calls that he intends to move the U.S. Embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. It remains unclear, however, when he might take that physical step, which is required by U.S. law but has been waived on national security grounds for more than two decades.

Trump is to publicly address the question of Jerusalem on Wednesday.

U.S. officials familiar with his planning said he would declare Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, a rhetorical volley that could have its own dangerous consequences. The United States has never endorsed the Jewish state’s claim of sovereignty over any part of Jerusalem and has insisted its status be resolved through Israeli-Palestinian negotiation.

The mere consideration of Trump changing the status quo sparked a renewed U.S. security warning on Tuesday. America’s consulate in Jerusalem ordered U.S. personnel and their families to avoid visiting Jerusalem’s Old City or the West Bank, and urged American citizens in general to avoid places with increased police or military presence.

Trump, as a presidential candidate, repeatedly promised to move the U.S. embassy. However, U.S. leaders have routinely and unceremoniously delayed such a move since President Bill Clinton signed a law in 1995 stipulating that the United States must relocate its diplomatic presence to Jerusalem unless the commander in chief issues a waiver on national security grounds.

Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital could be viewed as America discarding its longstanding neutrality and siding with Israel at a time that the president’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, has been trying to midwife a new peace process into existence. Trump, too, has spoken of his desire for a “deal of the century” that would end Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

U.S. officials, along with an outside adviser to the administration, said they expected a broad statement from Trump about Jerusalem’s status as the “capital of Israel.” The president isn’t planning to use the phrase “undivided capital,” according to the officials. Such terminology is favored by Israeli officials including Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and would imply Israel’s sovereignty over east Jerusalem, which the Palestinians seek for their own future capital.