US president Donald Trump has stunned the world by formally recognising Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, and announcing plans to move the US embassy from Tel Aviv to the contested city.
Trump made his “long overdue” announcement on Wednesday, despite widespread international opposition. “I have determined that it is time to officially recognise Jerusalem as the capital of Israel,” said Trump.
Despite the move, which was warned against by everyone from the Pope to UK prime minister Theresa May on the grounds that it would severely increase tensions, Trump also claimed, “The United States remains deeply committed to helping facilitate a peace agreement that is acceptable to both sides.”
He continued, “There will of course be disagreement and dissent regarding this announcement – but we are confident that ultimately, as we work through these disagreements, we will arrive at a place of greater understanding and cooperation.”
White House officials have made clear that any move of the embassy would take at least three years to complete. There are currently 86 foreign embassies in Tel Aviv, and none in Jerusalem.
“All challenges demand new approaches. My announcement today marks the beginning of a new approach to the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians,” he said.