In a statement on Wednesday, President Trump officially recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. Trump said the move would not change the aspirations for peace between the Israelis and Palestinians.
During his remarks, Trump mentioned that previous presidents used the Jerusalem Embassy Act’s waiver to delay the U.S. government’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s eternal capital and relocate the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv:
We are no closer to a lasting peace agreement between Israel and the Palestinians. It would be folly to assume that repeating the same exact formula would now produce a different or better result. Therefore, I have determined that it is time to officially recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.
Trump claimed Israel, “like every other sovereign nation,” has the right to declare its own capital.
Trump also officially announced the plans for an American embassy in Jerusalem:
This is nothing more or less than a recognition of reality. It is also the right thing to do. It’s something that has to be done. That is why, consistent with the Jerusalem Embassy Act, I am also directing the state department to begin preparation to move the American embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. This will immediately begin the process of hiring architects, engineers, and planners so that a new embassy, when completed, will be a magnificent tribute to peace.
Despite the recognition of Jerusalem, Trump stated it does not change the prospects of a peace process between the Israelis and the Palestinians, even when it comes to Israel’s sovereignty in Jerusalem:
I also want to make one point very clear: this decision is not intended in any way to reflect a departure from our strong commitment to facilitate a lasting peace agreement. We want an agreement that is a great deal for the Israelis and a great deal for the Palestinians. We are not taking a position of any final status issues, including the specific boundaries of the Israeli sovereignty in Jerusalem or the resolution of contested borders. Those questions are up to the parties involved.
The decision to move the embassy has been lauded by the Anti-Defamation League and AIPAC.