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Trump to recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital: officials

Trump to recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital: officials
From CBC - December 1, 2017

U.S. President Donald Trump islikely to deliver a speech on Wednesday recognizing Jerusalem asIsrael's capital, a senior U.S. official said on Friday, a movethat could upend decades of American policy and further inflametensions in the Middle East.

Two administration officials said on Thursday that even asTrump was considering the controversial declaration, he wasexpected to again delay his campaign promise to move the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem from Tel Aviv.The senior official and two other government sources saidfinal decisions had not yet been made.

The international community does not recognizeIsrael's claim on all of the city, home to sites holy to theJewish, Muslim and Christian religions.

A U.S. stance deviating from that of previous presidents,who have insisted that the matter must be decided in peacenegotiations, would anger Palestinians, who want the city'seastern sector as the capital of their future state, and thebroader Arab world.

It could seriously undermine the U.S. administration'sfledgling effort, led by Trump son-in-law and senior adviserJared Kushner, to restart long-stalled Israeli-Palestinian peacetalks.

Nabil Abu Rdainah, spokesman for Palestinian PresidentMahmoud Abbas, said U.S. recognition of Jerusalem as Israel'scapital would "destroy the peace process" and "destabilize theregion."

Such a move, however, could help satisfy the pro-Israel,right-wing base that helped Trump win the presidency and alsoplease the Israeli government, a close U.S. ally.

The senior official said on condition of anonymity that thedecision was not final and could still change.

Another U.S. official said Trump appeared to be headingtoward recognizing Israel's claim to Jerusalem but that it was not a done deal.

"We have nothing to announce," said a spokesperson with theWhite House National Security Council.

After months of intense White House deliberations, Trump isseeking to strike a balance between domestic political demandsand geopolitical pressures over the status of Jerusalem, one ofthe most sensitive core issues of the Israeli-Palestinianconflict.

Final plans unclear

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