On Wednesday, December 6, President Trump announced that the U.S. will formally recognize Jerusalem as the official capital of Israel and directed the U.S. State Department to start the process of moving the U.S. Embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. In the announcement, Trump called the embassy move a “recognition of reality” that Israel’s capital has been in Jerusalem for a very long time, and that moving the embassy is necessary for moving towards long-term peace in the Middle East, despite failed efforts by Jared Kushner, Trump’s son-in-law and Senior Advisor to the president, to negotiate a peace plan over the past several months.
While several Republicans and Trump supporters praise the move, the move is expected to cause much violence and outrage along the West Bank of Jerusalem, where Israel and Palestine have argued for decades over who controls that area of Jerusalem. Arab allies of the U.S. warned Trump against this move, saying that hurt chances of regional stability as well as negotiating a peace treaty between Israel and Palestine, something that the U.S. has been trying to negotiate for decades dating back to Jimmy Carter’s presidency, and was renewed under Bill Clinton.
Palestinian factions have called for “days of rage” in protest and the U.S. State Department has issued a warning and travel advisory for Americans that are near the West Bank and Jerusalem. Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, Egypt’s Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, Saudi Arabia’s King Salman and Jordan’s King Abdullah have all released statements condemning the move, although it is still unclear how Palestine will officially respond. Although the move was announced just this week, the U.S. Embassy will remain in Tel Aviv for now, as administration officials say that the move could take between three to four years.