- The Washington Times - Thursday, December 7, 2017

Jimmy Carter says President Trump’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and move the U.S. embassy there from Tel Aviv could jeopardize “any prospect for peace” in the region.

The former president said Mr. Trump’s break with decades of U.S. foreign policy has the potential of disrupting any hope for a two-state solution between Israel and the Palestinians.

“This fundamental shift in decades-old U.S. policy exacerbates tensions throughout the Arab and Muslim world, but we hope that protests can remain nonviolent,” Mr. Carter said in a statement Thursday, The Hill reported. “Any change to the status of the city without the consent of the Palestinians jeopardizes any prospect for peace. East Jerusalem is a linchpin of Palestinian aspirations for a state of their own.”

In announcing his decision Wednesday, Mr. Trump said recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital is “a necessary condition for achieving peace.”

Past presidents have used waivers to delay implementation of the Jerusalem Embassy Act, which Congress passed in 1995, but Mr. Trump said it was time to try something different.

“After more than two decades of waivers, we are no closer to a lasting peace agreement between Israel and the Palestinians. It would be folly to assume that repeating the exact same formula would now produce a different or better result,” he said.

Israel is a sovereign nation with the right like every other sovereign nation to determine its own capital,” he said. “This is nothing more, or less, than a recognition of reality. It is also the right thing to do. It’s something that has to be done.”

Mr. Trump said the administration remains strongly committed to facilitating a lasting peace agreement, including a two-state solution, that is acceptable by all parties involved.

“I intend to do everything in my power to help forge such an agreement,” he said. “Without question, Jerusalem is one of the most sensitive issues in those talks. The United States would support a two-state solution if agreed to by both sides.”

The announcement sparked pro-Palestinian protests in the West Bank, Gaza and Jerusalem on Thursday.


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