President Donald Trump announced Wednesday that the U.S. now officially recognizes Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. This is despite major opposition in the Middle East and Europe to the president’s decision.
President Trump said the move “marks the beginning of a new approach to conflict between Israel and the Palestinians.”
The announcement triggered protests in the Gaza Strip, where Palestinians believe part of Jerusalem will be the capital of their own future state. Some say the decision will threaten stability in the region and derail the Israeli-Palestinian peace process.
However, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said at a press briefing earlier in the day from Brussels, where he was attending a NATO meeting, that President Trump is “committed” to the peace process in the Middle East. “We continue to believe there is a very good opportunity for peace to be achieved, and the president has a team that is devoted to that entirely.”
Past presidents dating back to a 1995 law have signed a waiver every six months to delay moving the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem to preserve national security. U.S. officials said Trump would continue to sign the waiver until the embassy was ready to move, which logistically would take three or four years.