The White House on Tuesday night announced it will recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel moving forward and said it has directed State Department officials to begin plans to move the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, a decision that has been met with widespread consternation and criticism.
In a phone call with reporters, the officials stated that Trump “Remains committed to achieving peace between the Israelis and Palestinians.” They added that he is “Prepared to recognize a two-state solution”, should both sides come to that agreement, despite the fact that the decision to move the embassy would inherently kill any two-state peace talks, as Palestinian authorities has suggested. Moving the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem or declaring it the capital of Israel complicates the ongoing Middle East peace process, which Trump’s son-in-law and White House adviser Jared Kushner is charged with overseeing. On Tuesday, officials stated that Trump would continue to sign the Jerusalem Act waiver every six months until the embassy opens, or until Congress changes the law.
Talk of Trump’s decision to declare Jerusalem the capital city of Israel ignited outrage among international quarters this week, with several regional leaders condemning the move.
On Tuesday evening, senior administration officials told reporters that the embassy move would likely take at least three to four years, explaining that it would simply be “Impractical” to uproot embassy staff in Tel Aviv any sooner than that.