'Donald Trump is likely to recognise Jerusalem as the capital of Israel in a speech next Wednesday, according to reports.
Mr Trump is not the first president to promise the switch. But in following through, he would vindicate Israelis who believe they have a claim to the entirety Jerusalem — and could imperil an already elusive Middle East peace process. Israel’s annexation of East Jerusalem in 1967 and subsequent occupation of the area is still considered illegal by the United Nations.
Palestinians assert a right to at least part of Jerusalem, which contains multiple holy sites revered by Muslims. Their struggle has implications across the Middle East, cited by activists, government leaders and extremists as a reason to oppose Israel, America and their allies.
Previewing the potential fallout, Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas's spokesman Nabil Abu Rudeina warned that a resolution of the conflict rested on East Jerusalem being recognised as the capital of an independent Palestinian state.
“East Jerusalem, with its holy places, is the beginning and the end of any solution and any project that saves the region from destruction,” he said in a statement that did not directly refer to Mr Trump or to America.
Administration officials told Reuters that Mr Trump was not expected to move America's embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. For decades, presidents have signed waivers delaying that change, a requirement imposed in a 1995 bill.'
Read more: Donald Trump expected to declare Jerusalem the capital of Israel on Wednesday
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