[00:00.00]United States President Donald Trump has declared that the U.S. recognizes Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.
[00:12.08]Trump made the announcement Wednesday at the White House.
[00:17.42]He said the U.S. will begin steps to move the American embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.
[00:28.16]That process is expected to take years to complete however.
[00:35.35]The move had been expected after Trump informed Palestinian and Jordanian leaders of the U.S. decision Tuesday.
[00:46.56]Trump had promised to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital during his presidential campaign.
[00:55.00]The action is seen as an effort to complete a promise to political supporters, U.S. Jewish groups and American evangelical Christians.
[01:08.63]However, many political and religious leaders around the world voiced serious concerns about the move.
[01:19.42]Palestinian and Jordanian leaders condemned the U.S. plans.
[01:25.54]Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas warned the move could have “dangerous consequences” to peace efforts in the Middle East.
[01:37.83]In a statement Wednesday, he said Trump's decision was “a declaration of withdrawal from the role (the U.S.) has played in the peace process.”
[01:50.25]Jordan’s King Abdullah also expressed deep concerns.
[01:56.63]He said that “ignoring the Palestinian Muslim and Christian rights in Jerusalem will only fuel further extremism and undermine the war against terrorism.”
[02:10.16]Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said the U.S. recognition of Jerusalem represented a “red line” for Muslims.
[02:23.38]He also warned that Turkey may decide to cut ties with Israel.
[02:29.71]Jerusalem is home to important holy places for three major world religions: Islam, Judaism and Christianity.
[02:40.85]Israel captured the Arab area in east Jerusalem during the Six-Day War in 1967.
[02:50.34]Israel then declared the whole city its capital.
[02:54.70]However, the move is not recognized internationally.
[03:00.14]Palestinians want Jerusalem as the capital of a future state.
[03:05.76]The international community does not recognize Israel’s control over the whole city but says negotiations should decide Jerusalem’s status.
[03:17.83]Officials in Saudi Arabia, Iran and Egypt also warned that Trump’s decision could harm peace efforts and increase tensions in the region.
[03:30.26]In Gaza, hundreds of Palestinian demonstrators burned U.S. and Israeli flags in protest.
[03:40.46]Several major European leaders – including those of Britain, France and Germany - expressed strong concerns.
[03:50.71]They said any change to Jerusalem’s current status should be decided by the Israelis and Palestinians themselves.
[04:00.46]In Israel, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu praised Trump's decision, calling it "historic" for his country.
[04:11.06]In his announcement, Trump said the decision was long overdue and one he believed was in the best interest of the United States.
[04:21.98]He added that the current course had failed for many years to move forward the peace process.
[04:29.87]Trump said the decision “marks the beginning of a new approach to conflict between Israel and the Palestinians.”
[04:40.65]He said the U.S. “remains deeply committed” to helping both sides reach an acceptable peace agreement.
[04:49.86]Trump said he would accept a possible “two-state solution” for Jerusalem if the Israelis and Palestinians are willing to negotiate such a settlement.
[05:03.89]“We are not taking a position of any final status issues, including the specific boundaries of the Israeli sovereignty in Jerusalem, or the resolution of contested borders,” Trump said.
[05:20.19]“Those questions are up to the parties involved.”
[05:25.59]I’m Bryan Lynn.