• STV
  • MySTV

Donald Trump may recognise Jerusalem as Israel's capital

The highly charged declaration risks inflaming tensions across the Middle East.

US President Donald Trump may move the US Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.
US President Donald Trump may move the US Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. PA

US President Donald Trump is reportedly considering recognising Jerusalem as Israel's capital, a highly charged declaration that risks inflaming tensions across the Middle East.

The announcement would be a way to offset a likely decision delaying his campaign promise to move the US Embassy to the holy city from Tel Aviv.

Mr Trump's announcement is expected next week and follows months of internal deliberations that grew particularly intense in recent days, according to officials familiar with the talks.

The officials described the president as intent on fulfilling his pledge to move the embassy but also mindful that doing so could set back his aim of forging a long-elusive peace agreement between Israel and the Palestinians, who claim part of Jerusalem as the capital of an eventual state.

The officials, who weren't authorised to publicly discuss the matter and spoke on condition of anonymity, said the outlines of Mr Trump's plan emerged from a meeting of his top national security advisers at the White House on Monday.

The president himself was expected to drop by the meeting for 15 or 20 minutes. He ended up staying for at least an hour and grew increasingly animated during the session, according to two officials briefed on what happened.

The White House also is considering a possible presidential speech or statement on Jerusalem by Wednesday, according to the officials and an outside administration adviser.

Another possibility involves Vice President Mike Pence, who is set to travel to Israel in mid-December, making the Jerusalem announcement during his trip, one official said.

Earlier this week Mr Pence said Mr Trump is "actively considering when and how" to move the embassy, although the administration insisted the president had not made any decisions on the embassy.

The US Embassy in Israel may be moved from Tel Aviv (pictured) to Jerusalem.
The US Embassy in Israel may be moved from Tel Aviv (pictured) to Jerusalem. PA

"No decision on this matter has been made yet," State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said.

Moving the embassy is a step that could spark widespread protest across the Middle East and undermine an Arab-Israeli peace push led by president's son-in-law, Jared Kushner.

Mr Trump's campaign season promises won him the support of powerful pro-Israel voices in the Republican Party.

But as president, he has faced equally forceful lobbying from close US allies such as King Abdullah II of Jordan, who have impressed on him the dangers in abandoning America's carefully balanced position on the holy city.

Under US law signed by President Bill Clinton in 1996, the US must relocate its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem unless the president waives the requirement on national security grounds, something required every six months.

The US currently only has a Consulate General building in Jerusalem.
The US currently only has a Consulate General building in Jerusalem. PA

If the waiver is not signed and the embassy does not move, the State Department would lose half its funding for its facilities and their security around the world.

Republicans have championed embassy security since a 2012 attack on American compounds in Benghazi, Libya, that killed the US Ambassador J Christoper Stevens.

All presidents since Mr Clinton have issued the waiver, saying Jerusalem's status is a matter for Israelis and Palestinians to negotiate.

Mr Trump signed the waiver at the last deadline in June, but the White House made clear he still intended to move the embassy.

At Monday's White House meeting, Defence Secretary James Mattis and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson made the case that moving the embassy in Israel would pose a grave danger to American diplomats and troops stationed in the Middle East and Muslim nations, the US officials said.

Inside the Trump administration, officials said debate now centres on how to make a Jerusalem announcement without affecting Israeli-Palestinian "final status" negotiations.

One option under consideration is to include in any such statement a nod to Palestinian aspirations for their capital to be in east Jerusalem.

The US also faces legal constraints - recognising Jerusalem as Israel's capital without a peace deal could run afoul of UN Security Council resolutions that don't recognise Israeli sovereignty over the city.

Washington has a veto on the council and could block any effort to declare the US in violation, but any such vote risks being an embarrassment and driving a wedge between the United States and many of its closest allies.

One account. All of STV.

This field is required. That doesn't look like a valid e-mail format, please check. That e-mail's already in our system. Please try again.
ShowHide
Forgot password?
This field is required. At least 6 characters please. Did you enter your details correctly?
If you've forgotten your details then use the 'Forgot password?' link.
Need to reset your password?

We'll send a link to reset your password to

We've sent you details on how to reset your password

Please check your email and follow the instructions.

Forgotten your email address?

Have you forgotten the email address that you previously joined with? Don't worry, by emailing enquiries@stv.tv we can help.

One account. All of STV.

This field is required. Please enter at least 2 characters
This field is required. Please enter at least 2 characters
At least 6 characters please
ShowHide
This field is required. At least 6 characters please.
You have to be 16 or over to join
This field is required. This doesn't appear to be a valid date
Type your full postcode and select your address This field is required. It doesn't look like you've entered a valid postcode. Can't find your address? Confirm the details you've given us are correct by clicking here

By continuing you agree to our Terms of Use, including our Privacy Policy and Cookie Policy. Any issues contact us.

Upload Profile Picture

Please make sure your image is under 2mb in size and a valid JPG, PNG or GIF.

Are you sure?

Unfortunately, you'll be unable to access our premium content. We’ll be sorry to see you go, but if you change your mind you can rejoin us at any time.

Please verify your STV account

Please verify your STV account using the email we sent you. If you have lost the email, we can send you another one, just click the button below.

Thanks

We've sent you a new verification email.
Please check your email and follow the instructions to verify your account.

Welcome to STV
Thanks for joining us.

Oops!

Sorry, you must be at least 12 years old to place a vote for your Real Hero.

Please review our Voting Terms of Use for more information.

Oops!

Sorry! It seems that you are using a browser that is incompatible with our voting service.

To register your vote please copy the below URL in to your regular mobile browser. We recommend Google Chrome, or Safari.

http://shows.stv.tv/real-heroes/voting

Oops!

Sorry, you seem to have already voted in this category.

Thanks for voting

Now share your vote with friends on your social network

Share on twitter Share on facebook

Cast your vote

Please register or sign in to continue.

Cast your vote

This field is required. This doesn't appear to be a valid date

Cast your vote

Please fill out this form to cast your vote. As you are under 16 years old you will not create an STV account. Why do we need these details?

This field is required. Please enter at least 2 characters
This field is required. Please enter at least 2 characters
This field is required. That doesn't look like a valid e-mail format, please check.
Location This field is required.
Parental Consent This field is required.

That's you. All that's left is to click the 'Submit Vote' button below. By doing so, you confirm that you and your parent or guardian have read and accept our Voting Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Cookie policy, and that the details you have entered are correct. We'll look after them as carefully as if they were our own.