There is 'rare opportunity' for peace, Trump tells Israeli leaders

Trump to Recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s Capital

US President Donald Trump is likely to unilaterally recognise Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, senior administration officials say.

The news comes ahead of an expected speech by Mr Trump on Wednesday.

Arab leaders earlier warned against moving the US embassy in Israel to Jerusalem, with one saying this would be “a flagrant provocation to Muslims”.

The status of Jerusalem – a holy site for Israelis and Palestinians – is extremely contentious.

Israel has always regarded Jerusalem as its capital city, while the Palestinians claim East Jerusalem as the capital of a future Palestinian state.

In recognising Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, the US becomes the first country to do so since the foundation of the state in 1948.

What has the US just announced?

The Trump administration officials said recognising Jerusalem as Israel’s capital was seen “a recognition of reality” by the president.

However, specific boundaries of the city would remain subject to a final status agreement, the official said. The status of holy sites will not be affected.

Mr Trump also would direct the state department to begin the process of moving the US embassy to Jerusalem – but this could take several years.

He promised the move to pro-Israel voters during his campaign for the presidency.

The US officials added that the president would be signing a regular waiver blocking the embassy’s move from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem until the new building was completed.

Ahead of his formal announcement, Mr Trump phoned several regional leaders to tell them he intended to move the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

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