U.S. President Donald Trump has lived up to his campaign promise of relocating the U.S. embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem amid calls from Palestinian leaders for "Days of Rage" to protest the move.
Prior to signing the decree, officially relocating the U.S. embassy, Trump said, "It is time to officially recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel," reiterating that the country "is a sovereign nation, with a right to determine its own capital."
Hailing Israel as "one of the most successful democracies in the world," Trump went on to declare the divided city as "nothing more or less than a recognition of reality."
Despite being alerted by Palestinian presidential spokesperson Nabil Abu Rudeina that "President (Mahmoud) Abbas warned of the dangerous consequences such a decision would have to the peace process and to the peace, security and stability of the region and of the world," Trump assured that the new U.S. embassy "will be a magnificent tribute to peace."
Even prior to Trump's official announcement and signing of the decree, Palestinians heeded the call to three "Days of Rage," taking to the streets of the Gaza Strip to defend a city, Jerusalem, or as it's called in Arabic, Al Quds, they've long proclaimed to be their future state capital.
Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh characterized the U.S. decision to move the embassy as being “flagrant aggression” and an “uncalculated gamble that will know no limit to the Palestinian, Arab and Muslim reaction,” according to Al Jazeera. He went on to demand a halt to the embassy's relocation, for it will “usher in the beginning of a time of terrible transformations, not just on the Palestinian level but on the region as a whole.”
The Jordanian royal palace had previously issued a statement informing that King Abdullah II had warned Trump of the “dangerous repercussions” that could result on the “stability and security of the region” if the embassy were to be relocated to Tel Aviv.
In addition, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi cautioned U.S. officials from “taking measures that would undermine the chances of peace in the Middle East,” while Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan called the embassy relocation a “red line for Muslims," threatening to sever diplomatic ties with Israel if the move materializes.
Speaking on the anniversary of the birth of the Prophet Muhammad, Iran's Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei said the Muslim world will stand united against the U.S. plot to relocate its embassy to Jerusalem and that “everyone is duty-bound to make endeavors” toward Palestine's “freedom and salvage,” according to PressTV.
Even prior to a NATO meeting with U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, the U.K.'s Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson said moving the U.S. embassy “makes it more important than ever that the long-awaited American proposals on the Middle East peace process are now brought forward,” as a “matter of priority,” according to Reuters.
Having triggered a nerve in the Muslim world and Christian communities and sparked global condemnation, the United States promptly dispatched several marine details to fortify their embassies in the Middle East. Described as being “prudent planning,” the military reinforcement was authorized hours before U.S. President Donald Trump is scheduled to announce the embassy's relocation.
In June, Trump signed a six-month waiver to delay the relocation, which would have complicated U.S. efforts to resume the long-stalled Israeli-Palestinian peace talks.
However, Trump informed his Palestinian counterpart, Mahmoud Abbas, of his intentions to move the embassy during a phone call yesterday, according to Wafa, the Palestinian Authority official newspaper.
After Israel occupied East Jerusalem during the 1967 war with Syria, Egypt and Jordan, it claimed the entirety of the city as being “united.” However, Palestinians have warned the Trump administration that moving their embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, apart from inflaming sentiments throughout Palestine, would undermine relations.
The move would make the United States the only country in the world to have its embassy located in Jerusalem.