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US to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital city

Donald Trump is expected to recognise Jerusalem as Israel's capital, becoming the first country to do so since the foundation of the state in 1948

6 December 2017, 9:26am
US President Donald Trump is expected to recognise Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, senior administration officials have said.

Donald Trump will officially recognise Jerusalem as the capital city, confirming his intention to move the US embassy from Tel Aviv to the city.

The president will announce the start of the process during a speech at the White House, although the move would not happen for several years.

Around 1,000 staff members would need to re-locate to Jerusalem, with Congress assisting the State Department to find a new site, before a new building is designed and constructed.

The US President during a visit to Jerusalem in May 2017 (Photo: Skynews)
The US President during a visit to Jerusalem in May 2017 (Photo: Skynews)
While Israel welcomes the changes, the Palestinians and Arab leaders have warned they will jeopardise any Middle East peace process.

Saudi Arabia, an ally of the US, called the changes "a flagrant provocation to Muslims".

A statement from Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas' office said Trump had called the President and told him of "his intention to move the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem".

Abbas "warned of the dangerous consequences of such a decision on the peace process, security and stability in the region and the world", the statement added.

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.

The move would end decades of US policy that Jerusalem’s status must be decided in negotiations with the Palestinians, and give legitimacy to Israel's claim over the entire city.

The city is home to key religious sites sacred to Judaism, Islam and Christianity, especially in East Jerusalem.