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1 Dec, 2017 19:50

Trump to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital next week – reports

Trump to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital next week – reports

US President Donald Trump is allegedly planning to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel as early as next week, international media report, citing unnamed sources within the US administration. No official confirmation has been issued yet.

Trump is considering delivering a speech or issuing a statement in which he would announce Jerusalem’s recognition as the Israeli capital, on Wednesday, AP and Reuters report, citing White House officials familiar with the issue. However, the US president is also expected to once again delay his campaign promise concerning the relocation of the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

He is also likely to issue another six-month waiver on moving the embassy by Monday, thus continuing the policy of his predecessors, who were signing such waivers since 1995 to override a law requiring the embassy to be moved to Jerusalem.

However, the officials also did not rule out that both decisions could eventually be changed by next week. At the same time, no official statements concerning the issue have been released by the White House. “We’ve nothing to announce,” a spokesperson with the White House National Security Council told Reuters.

The Trump administration also said that no decisions concerning the embassy’s relocation have been made yet. On Wednesday, White House press secretary Sarah Sanders called earlier reports about Trump planning to order the relocation “premature.” The next day, the State Department spokeswoman, Heather Nauert, also said that “no decision on this matter has been made yet.”

However, Vice President Mike Pence said Tuesday that Trump is "actively considering when and how" to move the embassy, AP reports. The decision concerning the Jerusalem’s recognition as the Israeli capital was reportedly taken on Monday following Trump’s meeting with his top national security advisors, according to the officials, cited by AP.

Trump vowed to move the US embassy to Jerusalem during his presidential election campaign. However, the move has been repeatedly postponed up to this moment. In June, Trump issued a waiver overriding the 1995 law requiring the relocation. However, he said at that time that he still favored the move.

In October, the US president said he would like to halt the procedure of moving the embassy to support Washington’s peace proposal for the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. In the meantime, Israel has been actively urging the US to finally relocate its diplomatic mission.

In May, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said the move would actually contribute to the Israeli-Palestinian peace process by “shattering the Palestinian fantasy that Jerusalem is not the capital of Israel.” As for the Palestinian Authority, it vehemently opposes such a decision.

In November 2016, Palestine's UN envoy went as far as to vow that the Palestinians would fire back and make life “miserable” for the White House if it indeed transfers the US embassy to Jerusalem. A survey conducted in April 2017 showed that two-thirds of Palestinians in the West Bank would not accept Israel’s official capital moving to Jerusalem, even if they were given their own independence.

Israel has long insisted that Jerusalem is its capital, but all foreign embassies are located in Tel Aviv. The 1948 partition of Israel named Jerusalem an “international city” and most states have refused to guarantee that they will accept a new Israeli capital even as part of a negotiated solution. In April 2017, Moscow said it could only recognize West Jerusalem as Israel’s official capital if the eastern part of the city would become the capital of the Palestinian state.