Trump Recognizes Jerusalem as Capital of Israel

On Wednesday, Dec. 6, 2017, President Donald J. Trump recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. 

In 1995, Congress passed a law calling for the U.S. to recognize Jerusalem as the Israeli capital and for the embassy to be moved to Jerusalem. But every president since then has chosen to waive that law, putting off implementation six months at a time. Trump was expected to extend that waiver, while also initiating plans to move the embassy eventually.

Updated at 2:55 p.m. ET

"I have determined that it is time to officially recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel," President Trump said in a controversial address from the White House on Wednesday afternoon. He also directed the State Department to "begin preparation to move the American Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem."

Jerusalem has been contested for millennia and its status remains unresolved to this day. The Israelis claim the entire city as their capital, while the Palestinians are seeking a capital in the eastern part of the city for a future state.

The U.S. position has long been that the city's status should be settled in negotiations between the two sides.

President Trump broke from that policy by announcing Wednesday that the U.S. recognizes Jerusalem as Israel's capital and by planning to move the embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Updated at 3:21 p.m. ET

As President Trump announced his decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, other countries wasted little time in condemning the move on Wednesday. Citing fears that it will inflame tensions and undermine the peace process with Palestinians, who also claim the city as their capital, many in the international community also warned the White House against its stated intention of eventually relocating the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to the hotly disputed city.

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

MARY LOUISE KELLY, HOST:

Updated at 10:22 a.m. ET Wednesday

President Trump will announce tomorrow that the United States considers Jerusalem the capital of Israel, a reversal of longstanding policy that risks stoking anger and unrest across the Middle East.

Administration officials outlined the decision in a call with reporters Tuesday night. The announcement has been signaled for days with Arab and Muslim leaders increasing their pleas that Trump not take this step.

President Trump appears poised to overturn decades of U.S. policy on one of the world's most delicate geopolitical spots: Jerusalem.

Trump phoned Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas Tuesday and notified him about his "intention" to move the U.S. Embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, according to the official Palestinian news agency WAFA.