President Trump has informed Palestinian and Jordanian officials that an upcoming announcement, excepted as soon as Wednesday, will see the US formally recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, effective immediately. The embassy will also be moved to Jerusalem, though this is likely to take up to six months to finalize.
Israel declared Jerusalem to be its capital in 1980, though since it includes substantially amounts of illegally occupied territory, this relocation is not generally recognized, and foreign embassies are located in Tel Aviv.
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has reportedly sent messages to EU officials, the Pope, the Jordanian king, and Russia trying to get someone to talk the US out of the move. The Palestinian Authority has also announced “three days of rage” protests starting Wednesday.
The timing couldn’t be worse, coming amid reports the US and Saudi governments intend to push a new peace deal which is overwhelmingly biased in favor of Israel, and which leaves the Palestinians with only “limited sovereignty” and no state.
There has been some speculation that a US move to recognize Jerusalem would lead to a number of such recognition internationally. That doesn’t necessarily seem to be the case, however, as Germany’s Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel criticized the US move as counterproductive, noting it came without any consultation with the EU.
Indeed it may risk an EU pushback, with Gabriel saying it might force Germany to “spell out” its own position and its limits. The EU has long been a lot more critical of the Israeli occupation than the US has, and being cut out of this scheme might make them even moreso.