An Israeli media outlet reports that President Donald Trump is planning to announce that the US officially recognizes Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.
According to the Israeli media outlet Yedioth Ahronoth, Trump is also weighing the possibility of fulfilling his campaign pledge of moving the US Embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.
Potential US recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and the relocation of the US embassy are reportedly motivated by domestic political considerations related to renewed pressure from Republicans and evangelical Christians regarding US policy towards the Jewish state.
The Yedioth Ahronoth report came on Thursday just a day after the White House downplayed reports that Trump would announce the embassy’s relocation.
“This is a premature report. We have nothing to announce,” said White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders, AFP reported.
Israel’s Channel 2, meanwhile, reported on Wednesday that Israeli government officials believe it is extremely likely that Trump would announce the embassy move in the coming days.
In a speech on Tuesday marking the 70th anniversary of United Nations Resolution 181, which endorsed the establishment of a Jewish state in what was then British Mandatory Palestine, Vice President Mike Pence said that Trump is “actively considering” moving the embassy.
Trump on June 1 signed a waiver to keep the US embassy in Tel Aviv. The president now faces a December 1 deadline to decide whether or not to sign a waiver for an additional six months.
Palestinians Threaten Terrorism
Responding to the reports, the Palestinians are threatening violence.
Palestinian spokesman Nabil Abu Rudeineh said on Friday that a US recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel or moving its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem are “equally dangerous to the future of the peace process and would take the region into the square of instability.”
Abu Rudeineh had earlier said that “east Jerusalem, with its holy places, is the start and the end for any solution that would save the region from destruction.”
He stressed that “any just solution” to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict should ensure that east Jerusalem is the capital of the independent Palestinian state, adding that “failure to reach a solution to the Palestinian issue will prolong the state of tension, chaos and violence that are prevalent in the region and the world.”
He claimed that the region is facing difficult choices and the crises of the region are coming up to a difficult test, and that these serious challenges “affect the essence of the entire Arab existence.”
Hamas on Saturday said US recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel would lead to an “escalation” of the “Jerusalem intifada,” the Times of Israel reported.
The terror group said that the US’ recognition of Jerusalem as the Jewish state’s capital would constitute “flagrant aggression” against the city and “a barefaced violation of international law.”
Such a move would serve as a cover for a Jewish takeover of the city, Hamas alleged, calling on the Palestinians to resist any such action through renewed violence and terrorism.
By: JNS.org and United with Israel Staff