JERUSALEM — US President Donald J. Trump appears to be seriously considering recognizing contested Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, a step that risks enraging Arab opinion.
Mr. Trump may signal his intent on Monday when he’s due to decide whether to renew his signature on a waiver to keep the US embassy in Tel Aviv, as he did six months ago. He could announce a decision on recognizing Jerusalem as early as Wednesday, Axios reported.
Israel captured the city’s eastern sector — claimed by the Palestinians as the capital of a future state — in the 1967 Middle East war and in effect annexed it. The rest of the world doesn’t recognize the de facto annexation, nor regard Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. While Mr. Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, said yesterday he didn’t want to preempt the president’s decision, White House National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster said moving the embassy to the holy city would create “momentum” to broker peace in the Middle East.
Some regional players see potential peril in bringing the long-dormant issue back to center stage, with Palestinian and other Arab leaders warning that violence may erupt if Mr. Trump makes the move.
Past US presidents have insisted that the status of Jerusalem — home to sites holy to the Jewish, Muslim and Christian religions — must be decided in negotiations. The Palestinians want Jerusalem as the capital of their future state, and the international community does not recognize Israel’s claim on all of the city.
Any move by the United States to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital would fuel extremism and violence, Arab League Secretary-General Ahmed Aboul Gheit said on Saturday.
A senior Jordanian source said on Sunday that Amman, the current president of the Arab summit, has begun consultations on convening an emergency meeting of the Arab League and the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation before Trump’s expected declaration this week. — Bloomberg and Reuters