President Trump’s recognition of Israel’s capital is at once prosaic and revolutionary.
Why now? That’s the question being asked in Arab capitals, at the Vatican, at the United Nations, and even in Washington, after President Donald Trump declared that the United States would recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and move the U.S. Embassy there from Tel Aviv. Calling it “long overdue,” Trump described his decision as the fulfillment of a campaign pledge and “nothing more or less than a recognition of reality.” Thanking him, Israeli president Benjamin Netanyahu agreed: “Jerusalem,” he tweeted, “has been the capital of the Jewish people for 3,000 years.” Israel’s Knesset, its parliament, is in West Jerusalem. So are its Supreme Court, its key ministries, and most key official institutions. Trump maintained that the dramatic step, endorsed by Congress in 1995 but consistently avoided by his White House predecessors, would not damage the search for a peaceful resolution of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict or change the status of Jerusalem’s geographic and political borders. Those issues would still have to be agreed upon by Israel and the Palestinians, the White House said.