Conflict over Jerusalem dates back to thousands of years including Biblical times, the Roman Empire and the Crusades. The reason behind this has always been a motive of annexation but the latest controversy around the Holy City has erupted because of recognition. US President Donald Trump is reported to soon officially recognise Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, reversing decades of U.S. policy of recognizing a “united” Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. However, there are no official reports that the US embassy will be moved from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. The expected move has drawn flak from Arab countries and Palestine with many issuing stern warnings. Without revealing details, White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders on Tuesday said the President was “pretty solid” in his decision, and added that he will make the “best decision for the United States.
Jerusalem has been the bone of contention between Israelis and Palestinians as the Jewish nation sees the city as its undivided capital, while the Palestinians consider the majority-Arab East Jerusalem to be the future seat of an independent Palestine. In the light of the conflict around, no country keeps its embassy there, and the long-standing position of every nation including the US has been that Jerusalem’s final status would depend on a long-pending (and unlikely, as of now) lasting peace deal. The United States, like the rest of the world, hasn’t recognized Jerusalem despite Israel’s government been footed there since its founding in 1948.
The Trump administration officials have given no concrete reason for recognising Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. In an official statement, it was said that it is just “a recognition of reality” by the US government. However, the officials maintained that the specific boundaries of the city would remain subject to a final status agreement and the current status of holy sites will not be compromised. The US officials further stated that the president would be signing a regular waiver blocking the embassy’s move from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. It is reported that ahead of his formal announcement, Trump called up several regional leaders to tell them that he intended to move the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. To Trump’s dismay, no leader has taken the news very well.
According to the Saudi Press Agency, King Salman told the White House that a recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital “would constitute a flagrant provocation of Muslims, all over the world.” Palestinian factions have already declared three “days of rage,” starting Wednesday, in protest of a potential embassy move. Jordan’s King Abdullah II warned against the move, “stressing that Jerusalem is the key to achieving peace and stability in the region and the world.” Turkey also threatened to cut diplomatic ties with Israel. Ahead of Trump’s announcement, America’s consulate, on Tuesday, issued a warning for its personnel to avoid visiting Jerusalem’s Old City, the West Bank, and places with increased police or military presence.
Trump’s declaration will mark the second US break (under his regime) from its allies after his decision to move out of the Paris Climate accord. It must be noted that the city is home to key religious sites sacred to Judaism, Islam and Christianity, especially in East Jerusalem.