President Donald Trump announced he officially recognizes Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and will move the U.S. embassy to the city. While TV cameras were trained on him, he signed a directive for the State Department to hire architects to come up with a new embassy in Jerusalem, which he said should be designed as “a magnificent tribute to peace.”
Trump began his 11-minute speech about the most radioactive piece of real estate in the world, by patting himself on the back for making good on a campaign promise that also had been been made by previous Presidents, who had not then acted on the promise.
“Today, I am delivering,” Trump boasted, unlike previous Presidents, who “refused to move the embassy to Jerusalem or recognize Israel’s capital city” under the mistaken belief that delaying the action “would advance the cause of peace.”
“Some say they lacked courage,” Trump noted, adding his predecessors made made their judgement “based on facts as they understood them at the time.”
“After more than two decades…we’re not closer to lasting peace agreement,” Trump said, adding it would be “folly to assume repeating the same formula would now produce a better result.”
But, Trump hastened to add, “This decision is not intended in any way to reflect a departure from our strong commitment to facilitate a lasting peace agreement” in the region.
“We want an agreement that is a great deal for the Israelis and a great deal for the Palestinians.” The United States, Trump said, would support a two-state solution to the conflict “if both parties” want it.
Also, Trump insisted, “We are not taking a position on” such issues as a resolution of contested borders.
As Trump wrapping his speech, the consulate in Jerusalem sent out warnings to U.S. citizens in the area from putting themselves into any area with a large gathering, and told diplomats to stay away altogether from the Old City and West Bank.