US President Donald Trump officially proclaimed Jerusalem the capital of Israel and instructed the State Department to start moving the American Embassy to the Holy City. In his speech (6 November) in the White House, he said that the move was “the right thing to do” and in the best interest of the United States. He argued that the decision would help make a progress in the stalled Middle East peace process talks despite the warnings from Arab and European officials that the move would actually spark protests across the region.
Addressing the concerns that that the announcement would predestine the outcome of talks between Israelis and Palestinians, President Trump said that his administration would not take a position on the final status of Jerusalem, for example its borders. He also added that the United States respected the status quo as the ancient place holy to both Muslims and the Jews. President Trump also reiterated that his country would support a two state solution – including a state for the Palestinians – after refusing in the past to endorse one. “The United States remains deeply committed to helping facilitate a peace agreement that is acceptable to both sides,” he said. “I intend to do everything in my power to help forge such an agreement.”
Mr. Trump also affirmed that the US was seeking a peace deal that would work for both sides. “There will of course be disagreement and dissent regarding this announcement – but we are confident that ultimately, as we work through these disagreements, we will arrive at a place of greater understanding and cooperation,” Mr. Trump said. European leaders have not been impressed by President Trump’s decision. French President Emmanuel Macron tweeted that France did not approve of the move while EU head of diplomacy, Federica Mogherini, commented that the EU would step up its work to reaffirm the status of Jerusalem as the capital of both states.