Updated at 2:55 p.m. ET
“I have determined that it is time to officially recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel,” President Trump said in a controversial address from the White House on Wednesday afternoon. He also directed the State Department to “begin preparation to move the American Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.”
Trump’s announcement fulfills a campaign promise but threatens to unsettle volatile politics in the region. It’s a dramatic shift from decades of American foreign policy that called for the status of the city, which is claimed as a capital city by both Israelis and Palestinians, to be decided in peace talks. The declaration also breaks with long-standing international practices; no nation has an embassy in Jerusalem.
Trump said previous U.S. presidents have “failed to deliver” on pledges to acknowledge Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. “I am delivering,” he said in a speech that began shortly after 1 p.m.
“Today we finally acknowledge the obvious,” he said. “This is nothing more or less than a recognition of reality.”
The president says his announcement does not mean the U.S. is taking a position on any possible future peace negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians or on the “final status” of Jerusalem after such talks.