WASHINGTON: With President Trump poised to do what no other president has been willing to do – move the U.S. Embassy in Israel to Jerusalem – leaders and analysts in the region warned Tuesday that it could spur insecurity and instability in a part of the world already beset by both.
Fulfilling an oft-repeataed campaign pledge, Trump will declare Jerusalem the capital of Israel in a speech at the White House on Wednesday, three senior administration officials said. At the same time, he will set in motion a multiyear process for moving the embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, the officials said.
The president laid the groundwork in a series of phone calls Tuesday to Saudi Arabia’s King Salman, Jordan’s King Abdullah II, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Sisi.
All the leaders issued strongly worded declarations opposing the idea, which they fear could stir violent passions in a city that has long been a nationalist and religious tinderbox.
Jerusalem was a divided city until 1967, when Israel captured the eastern half of the city in a war with its Arab neighbors. Palestinians have never accepted Israeli rule over the entire city and have insisted that East Jerusalem become the capital of any future Palestinian state, making decisions about its status especially fraught. Israelis have always considered Jerusalem their “eternal” capital.