Trump recognizes Jerusalem as Israel's capital despite international fury from the Pope, the UK, Russia, China, Turkey, Iran, Palestinians, Reform Jews and Satmar who say 'he's declaring war against 1.5 billion Muslims'
President Donald Trump announced today that America formally recognizes Jerusalem as Israel's capital city, changing decades of U.S. policy in a brief afternoon speech.
Appearing in the White House's Diplomatic Reception Room against an elaborate backdrop of Christmas decorations, He also said the United States embassy in Israel would, over time, be moved there from Tel Aviv.
Israel is the only country where the United States has an embassy in a city that the host nation does not consider its capital.
'I have determined that it is time to officially recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel,' Trump said. 'While previous presidents have made this a major campaign promise, they failed to deliver. Today I am delivering.'
'When I came into office I promised to look at the world's challenges with open eyes and very fresh thinking,' he said, leaning heavily on a mid-1990s federal law that demanded the embassy's relocation.
'We have declined to acknowledge any Israeli capital – at all,' Trump added. 'But today we finally acknowledge the obvious, that Jerusalem is Israel's capital. This is nothing more or less than a recognition of reality.'
'It is also the right thing to do. It is something that has to be done.'
Every president since Bill Clinton has exercised a waiver in that law, kicking the can down the road. Trump said that has brought the world 'no closer to a peace agreement between Israel and the Palestinians.'
America's friends and foes unleashed fierce criticism before Trump made official what the White House previewed for reporters Tuesday night.
But Trump stuck to his guns, calling his decision an act of political courage.