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President Donald Trump announces the recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital as Vice President Mike Pence looks on at the White House on Dec. 6, 2017. (Photo: CNN/Pool)
President Donald Trump announces the recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital as Vice President Mike Pence looks on at the White House on Dec. 6, 2017. (Photo: CNN/Pool)

By MATTHEW LEE, Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) — Defying dire, worldwide warnings, President Donald Trump on Wednesday broke with decades of U.S. and international policy by recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

Despite urgent appeals from Arab and European leaders and the risk of anti-American protests and violence, Trump declared that he was ending an approach that for decades has failed to advance the prospects for peace. He also for the first time personally endorsed the concept of a “two-state solution” for Israel and the Palestinians, provided both sides agree to it.

“I have determined that it is time to officially recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel,” he said in a White House address, calling it “overdue” and in the best interests of the United States. He said recognition acknowledged the “obvious” that Jerusalem is the seat of Israel’s government despite the disputed status that is one of the key elements in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

“This is nothing more or less than the recognition of reality,” he said.

Trump also directed that the State Department begin the process of moving the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem as required by U.S. law. Officials said, however, that the move will take years to complete.

Trump maintained that his decision would not compromise the city’s geographic and political borders, which will still be determined by Israel and the Palestinians.

Ahead of Trump’s speech, Arab and Muslim leaders spoke about the potential for violence. In Gaza, hundreds of Palestinian protesters burned American and Israeli flags. They also waved Palestinian flags and banners proclaiming Jerusalem as their “eternal capital,” language that Israelis similarly use for their nation.

Even America’s closest allies in Europe questioned the wisdom of Trump’s radical departure from the past U.S. position, which was studiously neutral over the sovereignty of the city.

Jerusalem includes the holiest ground in Judaism. It’s also home to Islam’s third-holiest shrine and major Christian sites, and any perceived harm to Muslim claims to the city has triggered protests in the past, in the Holy Land and beyond.

America’s consulate in Jerusalem has ordered U.S. personnel and their families to avoid visiting Jerusalem’s Old City or the West Bank, and urged American citizens in general to avoid places with increased police or military presence.

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  • CCMcBee

    Why are evangelicals so in love with Israel? Why wont evangelicals vote Democrat? Abortion? Israel has some of the most liberal abortion laws in the world, the government even pays for abortions there. So we send billions to Israel to possibly pay for abortions.

    • guest45

      because evangelicals are smarter than you libs that always hunting a handout

      • CCMcBee

        Really? I’ve never had a dime from any handouts. Never asked for one. Most ppl on handouts are red state voters.

      • 58thStreetSurfer

        Many of them minorities who vote Democrat.

      • John

        The reddest states on that map at the top—Mississippi, Alabama, Louisiana, New Mexico, Maine—have exceptionally high poverty rates and thus receive disproportionately large shares of federal dollars. Through a variety of social programs, the federal government disburses hundreds of billions of dollars each year to maintain a “safety net” intended to help the neediest among us.

      • seldongreen

        That’s how they manage to get 10% of so many lonely little old ladies social security.

    • IUsedToBeCalledModerate

      It’s not about loving Israel or its inhabitants for evangelicals. Israel is where evangelicals believe Jesus will return to the earth. They want Israel to be in “friendly” hands when He returns (even though – according to Revelations – His return doesn’t really work out very well for Jewish people).

      • 58thStreetSurfer

        Maybe because no one wants to see a nation and it’s citizens wiped off the face of the earth which is the stated goal of some of their neighbors.

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