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Trump recognizes Jerusalem as Israeli capital, instructs embassy relocation process

07 December 2017

HaleyTrump's withdrawal from migration summit shows his nationalist colors US, South Sudan must stand together for peace Dems plan ambitious campaign for red-state governorships MORE, the United States ambassador to the U.N., said Wednesday that the United States is not taking sides in the dispute over East Jerusalem despite President Trump's decision to move the USA embassy and recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital city.

Israel seized the largely Arab eastern sector of Jerusalem during the 1967 Six-Day War and later annexed it, claiming both sides of the city as its capital.

Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has told ministers to stay silent, at Trump's request, according to Israeli media.

Germany does not support the Trump administration's decision to recognise Jerusalem as Israel's capital, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Wednesday. Jerusalem has been the focus of our hopes, our dreams, our prayers for three millennia.

Palestinian demonstrators outside of the Damascus Gate in Jerusalems Old City Dec. 7 2017
Ahmad Gharabli AFP Getty Images Israeli forces disperse Palestinian demonstrators outside of the Damascus Gate in Jerusalem's Old City Dec. 7 2017

The move sparked frustrated Palestinians to cry out that the U.S. president had destroyed already-fragile Middle East hopes for peace.

He also said the United States would move its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, although he set no timetable.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan called for a summit of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), the main pan-Islamic body, in Istanbul next week to display joint action over Jerusalem. Palestinian officials have reacted with anger, and Trump's plans have triggered bleak warnings from Middle Eastern nations that say the move would be detrimental to peace and the region's stability.

Trump "is prepared to support a two State solution". Britain said the move would not help peace efforts and Jerusalem should ultimately be shared by Israel and a future Palestinian state.

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The declaration - met by fierce regional condemnation - ends seven decades of deliberate diplomatic ambiguity about the final status of a holy city vociferously claimed by both Israelis and Palestinians.

Ilan Goldenberg from the Center for New American Security said, "if you're about to launch a major peace plan, the last thing you want to do is to take this highly sensitive question of Jerusalem and just throw it into the mix". The statement also issued restrictions on US government employees' personal and official travel for certain areas of Israel.

Qatar's foreign minister, Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman al-Thani, said Trump's undertaking was a "death sentence for all who seek peace" and called it "a risky escalation".

Russian President Vladimir Putin phoned Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas on Tuesday to say Moscow backs a resumption of talks between Israel and Palestinian authorities, including on the status of Jerusalem, the Kremlin said.

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Turkey's foreign ministry responded to the move, calling it irresponsible and illegal. Hundreds of protesters gathered outside the USA consulate in Istanbul, according to live footage from Turkey's state-run TRT television.

Also Wednesday, Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, slammed the decision on Twitter, saying it was taken "out of despair and debility". "The status of Jerusalem must be determined by Israelis and Palestinians in the framework of negotiations under the auspices of the United Nations", he said. "For now, I urge for calm and for everyone to be responsible".

Guterres implicitly criticised Trump, stressing his opposition to "any unilateral measures that would jeopardise the prospect of peace".

Trump further stated that the United States was not taking a position on any "final status issues, including the specific boundaries of the Israeli sovereignty in Jerusalem, or the resolution of contested borders".

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Trump recognizes Jerusalem as Israeli capital, instructs embassy relocation process