BALTIMORE (WJZ) — President Donald Trump changed decades of unwavering U.S. neutrality on Jerusalem Wednesday, declaring the holy city as Israel’s capital.
Israel made Jerusalem its capital with its founding in 1948.
On Wednesday President Donald Trump declared, “It is time to officially recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.”
President Trump also ordered the U.S. embassy be moved there from Tel Aviv, despite warnings from Arab and European allies not to take such actions.
In Bethlehem, Palestinians started protesting overnight.
“We will not accept to move the embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem,” said Palestinian activist Munther Amira. “Jerusalem is the Palestinian capital.”
Establishing East Jerusalem as a Palestinian capital has long been a fixture of a two-state solution.
A possibility Trump acknowledged.
“The United States would support a two-state solution, if agreed to by both sides,” Trump announced.
Machmud Abbas, the president of the Palestinian Organization, earlier urged Trump not to move the embassy.
He now says it only opens the door to endless war, while Israel’s leaders praised Trump’s actions.
Howard Libit, executive director of Baltimore’s Jewish Council, share his thoughts on Trump’s announcement.
“What he announced was a recognition of the reality on the ground, which is Jerusalem is the capital of Israel and the capital for the Jewish people,” Libit said.
The State Department has warned American tourists not to visit Jerusalem’s old city or West Bank.
Protests across the Arab world are expected, though Trump urged all sides to remain calm.
“None of us want violence,” Libit said. “Now is the time for restraint and to refocus our energies on finding a long-term solution for peace.”
The United States would become the first foreign power to place an embassy in Jerusalem.
Moving the embassy would take time, with estimates that it would take three or four years.