After a more than twenty-year delay by successive administrations, President Donald Trump has finally made good on the promise to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. He also directed the State Department to begin preparations to move the American Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.
Recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, said President Trump “is a long overdue step to advance the peace process [between the Israelis and Palestinians] and to work towards a lasting agreement. Israel is a sovereign nation,” he said, “with the right, like every other sovereign nation, to determine its own capital. Acknowledging this as a fact is a necessary condition for achieving peace.”
“Jerusalem,” said President Trump, “is not just the heart of three great religions, but it is now also the heart of one of the most successful democracies in the world. Over the past seven decades, the Israeli people have built a country where Jews, Muslims, and Christians, and people of all faiths, are free to live and worship according to their conscience and according to their beliefs.”
“Jerusalem, is today, and must remain,” said President Trump, “a place where Jews pray at the Western Wall, where Christians walk the stations of the cross, and where Muslims worship at Al-Aqsa mosque.”
President Trump stressed that the U.S. remains deeply committed to helping facilitate a peace agreement that is acceptable to both sides. Indeed, the United States would support a two-state solution, said President Trump, “if agreed to by both sides.” In the meantime, he called on “all parties to maintain the status quo at Jerusalem's holy sites, including the Temple Mount, also known as Haram al-Sharif.”
President Trump called for “calm, for moderation and for the voices of tolerance to prevail over the purveyors of hate.”
“It is time,” said President Trump, “for the many who desire peace to expel the extremists from their midst. It is time for all civilized nations and people to respond to disagreement with reasoned debate, not violence. And it is time for young and moderate voices all across the Middle East to claim for themselves a bright and beautiful future.”