President Donald Trump just declared the United States will recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, and now he’ll move our embassy there. Why that’s such a huge deal? We’re taking a look at that in the Breakdown.
“Today we finally acknowledge the obvious — that Jerusalem is Israel’s capital,” President Trump said.
Jerusalem matters a lot to Christians, Muslims, and Jews. Jerusalem is in Palestine. After the holocaust, the United Nations split Palestine in half. They kept Jerusalem as an international city that no one owned and everyone could visit, but they gave the west side of Palestine to the Jews. It would be their “home land.” This was called Israel.
Arab natives who’d long lived in Palestine weren’t happy, so there was war.
Israel won, and started taking huge chunks of Arabic land and saying “this is ours now”. The United Nations said, “hey, that wasn’t the agreement.” It’s basically a really big turf war.
So today, there’s still debate over whether Israel really has a right to that land — which includes Jerusalem.
“My announcement today marks the beginning of a new approach to conflict between Israel and the Palestinians,” President Trump said.
By recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, the president is validating their claims.
“We are profoundly grateful to the president for his courageous and just decision,” Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said.
The U.S. actually voted to do this 22 years ago. A 1995 law required the immediate relocation of our embassy to Jerusalem, but presidents have used waivers to avoid doing this because of the tensions it would cause.
That’s exactly what happened after the president’s announcement. Protests erupted in Turkey and Bethlehem. Videos taken in Gaza City show them chanting “Death to America” and burning our flags.
Some Islamic groups calling for three-days of “popular anger”. The U.S. consulate in Jerusalem tweeted a warning banning government employees and their families from going to West Bank. The president of Palestine warned this validation of Jerusalem would have “dangerous consequences”.
The British aren’t happy. Their officials tweeting they don’t support this call and want Jerusalem to be shared between Israel and Palestine. Germany rejecting it too, with a spokesman saying they prefer a dual-state answer.
But the Czech Republic just followed suit in naming Jerusalem the capital, and some, like Texas senator Ted Cruz, praised this as a message that validates the ties between the Jewish people and Jerusalem.
The president today made a point of saying, “this decision is not intended in any way to reflect a departure from our strong commitment to a facilitating a lasting peace agreement.”
It’s not clear yet when the embassy will go from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson says they’re already scouting locations.
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