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Trump to call Jerusalem Israel's capital, move embassy
World | politics | 11:47, 06 December 2017 | 1208
Jerusalem

AKIPRESS.COM - US President Donald Trump will recognise Jerusalem as Israel's capital and direct the state department to begin the lengthy process of moving the US embassy from Tel Aviv to the city, according to senior White House officials.

The announcement, which is expected at 18:00 GMT on Wednesday, comes amid global condemnation of the move, Al Jazeera reports.

The officials said in a briefing that Trump's expected announcement is "recognition of a reality".

The officials added that moving the embassy "will take years" and Trump will continue to sign the six-month waiver to keep the embassy in Tel Aviv until the relocation process is complete.

The status of Jerusalem goes to the heart of Israel's conflict with the Palestinians, who are backed by the rest of the Arab and wider Islamic world. The city is home to key religious sites sacred to Judaism, Islam and Christianity, especially in East Jerusalem.

Israel occupied the area in the 1967 Middle East war and regards the entire city as its indivisible capital.

The Palestinians claim East Jerusalem as the capital of a future state, and according to 1993 Israel-Palestinian peace accords, its final status is meant to be discussed in the latter stages of peace talks.

Israeli sovereignty over Jerusalem has never been recognised internationally, and all countries, including Israel's closest ally the US, maintain their embassies in Tel Aviv.

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