President Donald Trump told Arab leaders on Tuesday that he intends to move the U.S. embassy in Israel to Jerusalem, a decision that breaks with decades of U.S. policy and risks fueling violence in the Middle East.
Senior U.S. officials have said Trump is likely on Wednesday to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital while delaying relocating the embassy from Tel Aviv for another six months, though he is expected to order his aides to begin planning such a move immediately.
U.S. endorsement of Israel’s claim to all of Jerusalem as its capital would reverse long-standing U.S. policy that the city’s status must be decided in negotiations with the Palestinians, who want East Jerusalem as the capital of their future state. The international community does not recognize Israeli sovereignty over the entire city, home to sites holy to the Muslim, Jewish and Christian religions.
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, Jordan’s King Abdullah, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi and Saudi Arabia’s King Salman, who all received phone calls from Trump, joined a mounting chorus of voices warning that unilateral U.S. steps on Jerusalem would derail a fledgling U.S.-led peace effort and unleash turmoil in the region.