US recognises Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, ‘Historic’ says Netanyahu

RSTV Bureau
Washington: President Donald Trump with Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis (right) in White House, Washington, Dec. 6, 2017. AP/PTI

Washington: President Donald Trump with Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis (right) in White House, Washington, Dec. 6, 2017.

The United States of America has recognised Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, the announcement which has stirred divided opinions worldwide. Donald Trump made the announcement late on Wednesday post which the US authorities have started the process of moving the US embassy from Tel Aviv to the holy city, which bears significance for Jews, Christians and Muslims and other sects.

While Israel welcomed the decision, many Arab leaders warned that the developments could trigger an upheaval in the already volatile Middle East.

The controversial decision was promised by Trump during his bitterly fought 2016 US Presidential campaign.

“I have determined it is time to officially recognise Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. Jerusalem is Israel’s capital. It is recognition of a reality, he said making an announcement from the White House.

Calling it a long overdue step, the US President said, “Jerusalem is not just the heart of three great religions, but it is now also the heart of one of the most successful democracies in the world.

“Over the past seven decades, the Israeli people have built a country where Jews, Muslims, Christians and people of all faiths are free to live and worship according to their conscience and beliefs,” the President said.

He, however, said that the United States remains deeply committed to helping facilitate a peace agreement that is acceptable to both sides.

“We are not taking a position on any final status, issues. Without question Jerusalem is one of the most sensitive issues in those talks,” Trump said stressing that US supports a two-state solution.

“There will of course be disagreement and dissent regarding this announcement, but we are confident that ultimately, as we work through these disagreements, we will arrive at a place of greater understanding and cooperation,” Trump added.

The international community considers east Jerusalem illegally occupied by Israel and most countries have their embassies in Tel Aviv.

Meanwhile, Isreal Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu termed the recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital by US President Donald Trump as “historic” and a “courageous and just decision” which will help “advance peace”.

“This is a historic day. It’s been the capital of Israel for nearly 70 years. Jerusalem has been the focus of our hopes, our dreams, our prayers for three millennia. It has been the capital of the Jewish people for 3,000 years. It was here that our temples stood, our kings ruled, our prophets preached”, Netanyahu said in a statement.

He said the Jewish state would maintain status quo at the holy sites ensuring freedom of worship for Jews, Christians and Muslims alike.

(With inputs from Agencies)