Donald Trump mulls declaring Jerusalem as Israeli capital: What it could mean for Middle East politics

US President Donald Trump (Agencies/Files) Top News

Donald Trump is likely going to announce next week that US¬†recognises Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, a senior administration official told Reuters. This move could upend decades of American policy and possibly inflame tensions in the Middle East. The US President is likely to make the controversial declaration in a speech next week. Reuters reported that Donald Trump is also expected to again delay his campaign promise to move the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem from Tel Aviv, adding that final decisions had not yet been made.

Jerusalem is home to the many Christian, Muslim and Jewish holy sites, which are some of biggest religions of the world. The city lies at the heart of the Israel-Palestine conflict. During Israel’s Middle East War in 1967, it had captured half of the city and had claimed it as its own, while Palestine refuting the same. East Jerusalem had been wanted by Palestine to be the capital of their country in the future.

Trump was expected, earlier, to renew the six-month waiver for the US Embassy in Tel Aviv to be shifted to Jerusalem, which supercedes a 1995 law that calls for the move, as has been the practice of former American presidents.

On Tuesday, November 28, US Vice President Mike Pence had said that Trump is “actively” mulling over when he should declare that the US Embassy Israel in Tel Aviv is being relocated to Jerusalem, news organisation Al Jazeera reported.

Globally, the entire city of Jerusalem is not recognised as a part of Israel. If the US recognises it as the capital of Israel, it would be the first nation to do so, and the first nation to have an embassy in the disputed city.

The move is likely is outrage Palestine as well as the Muslim-majority Arab world. It could also be a stopper in the tracks for Israel and Palestine peace talks by the US administration. The people it can aim to please, however, are Trump’s right-leaning supporters who share pro-Israel views, who are credited with the US President’s election win, and, of course, the government of Israel.

The US’ recognising of Jerusalem as capital city would also undermine the former’s role that was hitherto seen as an impartial negotiator.

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