<p>Donald Trump has recognised Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and announced plans to relocate the US embassy, currently based in Tel Aviv, to the city. In his live televised address from White House last night, Mr Trump said, it was a long overdue step. He also directed the State Department to immediately begin the process of construction of US embassy in Jerusalem.</p>
At the same time, US President reiterated his commitment to the two-state solution to the Israel-Palestine conflict. He said, United States remains deeply committed to helping facilitate a peace agreement that is acceptable to both sides.
President Trump recognised that the specific boundaries of Israeli sovereignty in Jerusalem are subject to final status negotiations between the parties and reaffirmed the United States’ support for the status quo at the Temple Mount, also known as Haram al Sharif.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has hailed the US decision. He termed it as historic and a courageous and just decision. Mr Netanyahu also pledged no change to the status quo at Jerusalem’s highly sensitive holy sites in the city.
The US announcement, long-sought by Israel, breaks with decades of Washington policy as well as the international consensus. World leaders have urged Mr Trump to reconsider his decision and warned that it could derail peace efforts and stir unrest in the region and beyond.
The status of Jerusalem – home to sites holy to Muslims, Jews and Christians – is one of the core issues in the perennial Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Leading the global voice of dissent against the US President’s decision, UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres said that the holy city is the final-status issue that must be resolved through direct negotiations.
Talking to reporters at the UN headquarters, Mr Guterres said, he has consistently spoken out against any unilateral measures that would jeopardise the prospect of peace for Israelis and Palestinians.
Palestine President Mahmoud Abbas said, the decision was tantamount to the United States ‘abdicating its role as a peace mediator’ after a decade of sponsoring the Israeli-Palestinian peace process. In a speech after Mr Trump’s announcement, he said, Jerusalem was the ‘eternal capital of the state of Palestine’.
Islamist group Hamas chief Ismail Haniyeh said, Palestinian people everywhere will not allow this conspiracy to pass, and their options are open in defending their land and their sacred places.
Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said, the decision was irresponsible. He wrote on Twitter that the decision is against international law and relevant UN resolutions.
<p>Saudi Arabian media said, King Salman told Mr Trump through telephone that any declaration on the status of Jerusalem before reaching a final settlement would harm the peace negotiation process and escalate tension in the region.</>