According to Business Insider, President Donald Trump plans to move the US Embassy in Israel to Jerusalem, and he is expected to announce on Wednesday that the US will recognize the city as the capital of Israel, multiple news outlets have quoted senior administration officials as saying.
Trump informed the Palestinian Authority’s president, Mahmoud Abbas, and Jordan’s King Abdullah II of his decision on Tuesday. He is set to deliver a major speech from the White House at 1 p.m. ET on Wednesday.
President Trump is facing opposition from many world leaders, including May of Great Britain, Macron of France, and the Pope.
The Palestinians seek East Jerusalem as the capital of a future Palestinian state, and the United Nations maintains that Israel’s continued occupation of East Jerusalem, which it conquered in the Six Day War in 1967, is illegal under international law. While several countries previously had embassies in Jerusalem, they have now all either moved to Tel Aviv or cut off relations entirely after Israel added a law calling the holy city the “complete and united capital of Israel,” according to Haaretz.
Every six months since 1995, every U.S. president has had to sign a waiver deciding whether or not to move the U.S. embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. Since the Clinton administration, they decided each time to keep the embassy where it is, concluding that to move the embassy to Jerusalem would upset the balance in Middle East peace talks. On Tuesday, however, after signing a waiver putting off the move in June, President Donald Trump informed the Palestinian Authority’s President Mahmoud Abbas that he’s going to recognize the contested holy city as Israel’s capital and begin the process of moving the embassy there. The President is expected to sign the waiver once again, however, as it will take some time to actually prepare to move the embassy, purchase land, build the new facilities etc.
The Jerusalem Embassy Act required the U.S. to move the embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem by a set deadline, but conceded that the move could be put off for six months at a time as long as the President “determines and reports to Congress in advance that such suspension is necessary to protect the national security interests of the United States.”
(1) Each sovereign nation, under international law and custom, may designate its own capital.
(2) Since 1950, the city of Jerusalem has been the capital of the State of Israel.
(3) The city of Jerusalem is the seat of Israel’s President, Parliament, and Supreme Court, and the site of numerous government ministries and social and cultural institutions.
(4) The city of Jerusalem is the spiritual center of Judaism, and is also considered a holy city by the members of other religious faiths.
(5) From 1948–1967, Jerusalem was a divided city and Israeli citizens of all faiths as well as Jewish citizens of all states were denied access to holy sites in the area controlled by Jordan.
(6) In 1967, the city of Jerusalem was reunited during the conflict known as the Six Day War.
(7) Since 1967, Jerusalem has been a united city administered by Israel, and persons of all religious faiths have been guaranteed full access to holy sites within the city.
(8) This year marks the 28th consecutive year that Jerusalem has been administered as a unified city in which the rights of all faiths have been respected and protected.
(9) In 1990, the Congress unanimously adopted Senate Concurrent Resolution 106, which declares that the Congress ‘‘strongly believes that Jerusalem must remain an undivided city in which the rights of every ethnic and religious group are protected’’.
(10) In 1992, the United States Senate and House of Representatives unanimously adopted Senate Concurrent Resolution 113 of the One Hundred Second Congress to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the reunification of Jerusalem, and reaffirming congressional sentiment that Jerusalem must remain an undivided city.
(11) The September 13, 1993, Declaration of Principles on Interim Self-Government Arrangements lays out a timetable for the resolution of ‘‘final status’’ issues, including Jerusalem.
(12) The Agreement on the Gaza Strip and the Jericho Area was signed May 4, 1994, beginning the five-year transitional period laid out in the Declaration of Principles.
(13) In March of 1995, 93 members of the United States Senate signed a letter to Secretary of State Warren Christopher encouraging ‘‘planning to begin now’’ for relocation of the United States Embassy to the city of Jerusalem.
(14) In June of 1993, 257 members of the United States House of Representatives signed a letter to the Secretary of State Warren Christopher stating that the relocation of the United States Embassy to Jerusalem ‘‘should take place no later than . . . 1999’’.
(15) The United States maintains its embassy in the functioning capital of every country except in the case of our democratic friend and strategic ally, the State of Israel.
(16) The United States conducts official meetings and other business in the city of Jerusalem in de facto recognition of its status as the capital of Israel.
(17) In 1996, the State of Israel will celebrate the 3,000th anniversary of the Jewish presence in Jerusalem since King David’s entry.
Full text of PUBLIC LAW 104–45—NOV. 8, 1995: