US will move to recognise Jerusalem as capital of Israel, White House confirms

Published: 06 December 2017 Image credit: Reuters

Donald Trump set to announce change in US foreign policy to recognise Israel’s capital as Jerusalem

US President Donald Trump is set to announce America will officially recognise Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, the White House has confirmed.

In a move that has already sparked anger and protests in the Middle East, President Trump will also order the relocation of America’s Israeli embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

Jerusalem, a sacred site of Jewish, Muslim and Christian shrines, is generally regarded internationally as under “permanent international regime” as instigated by the UN in 1947, in its attempt to resolve the ongoing conflict between Israel and the Palestinian Authority over which country claimed the area as their capital.

Mr Trump’s announcement tomorrow will break with decades of US policy, but its implementation will most likely take years to complete, as the relocation of the US embassy would involve moving thousands of workers.

It is believed President Trump will issue a temporary order to hold relocation of the embassy for at least six months.

Addressing the media at a press conference today, White House spokesperson Sarah Sanders refused to give further details on tomorrow’s planned announcement, confirming only that the President had spoken to five different world leaders about his decision.

“He's going to continue to have conversations with different leaders from across the world,” Ms Sanders said.

She said that a number of issues have “weighed into the President’s decision.”

“Ultimately, he'll make what he feels is the best decision for the United States.”

A number of world leaders, including those in Turkey, Jordan and Saudi Arabia, have warned Mr Trump against making the move, with fears it will spark new violence in the already unstable region.

Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said that Jerusalem is a “red line” for Muslims.

“It is a violation of international law to take a decision supporting Israel while Palestinian society's wounds are still bleeding," the Turkish president said in an address to Parliament today.

He said Turkey could go as far as severing ties with Israel if the move takes place.

Saudi Arabia’s King Salman also reportedly told President Trump in a telephone conversation that a US declaration concerning Jerusalem ahead of a peace deal would “harm the peace negotiation process and escalate tension in the region.”

Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop said the government had no plans to relocate Australia’s Israeli embassy, which is currently located in Tel Aviv, and that Australia’s Ramallah embassy in the Palestinian Authority would also remain.

She said Australia supports a two-state solution “where both peoples live within secure and internationally recognised borders.”

"Matters relating to Jerusalem are subject to final status negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian Authority,” she said.

Mr Trump is expected to make a detailed announcement tomorrow.