US president Donald Trump is set to officially recognise Jerusalem as the capital of Israel on Wednesday, a move that Arab leaders have warned him against and which can have deep repercussions.
It could trigger violence in the region, derail a developing US-West Asia peace plan before it even gets off the ground and infuriate key allies in the Arab world and in the West, a report in The Hindu said, while the BBC quoted one Arab leader as saying it would be “a flagrant provocation to Muslims”.
According to senior Trump administration officials, the president is due to announce the controversial decision in a speech at 1 pm, and also approve moving the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, but not for several years.
Israel, which has regarded Jerusalem as its capital city, welcomed the move. The Palestinians, on the other hand, have always claimed East Jerusalem as the capital of a future Palestinian state. Hamas, which controls Gaza, has called for protests against the US decision, BBC reported.
Recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital will make the US the first country to do so since the foundation of Israel in 1948, and will be a major shift in US’ decades-old Middle East policy which can affect peace efforts between Israel and Palestine.
A report in The New York Times said Trump’s decision was driven not by diplomatic calculations but by a campaign promise.