- President Donald Trump appears to have changed his administration’s policy on Israel.
- “We have taken Jerusalem, the toughest part of the negotiation, off the table,” Trump tweeted.
- The president initially changed US policy on Israel, and Jerusalem in particular, in a landmark speech in December.
President Donald Trump appears to have changed his administration’s policy on Israel in a series of tweets late on Tuesday.
“We pay the Palestinians HUNDRED OF MILLIONS OF DOLLARS a year and get no appreciation or respect. They don’t even want to negotiate a long overdue peace treaty with Israel,” Trump tweeted. “We have taken Jerusalem, the toughest part of the negotiation, off the table, but Israel, for that, would have had to pay more.”
“But with the Palestinians no longer willing to talk peace, why should we make any of these massive future payments to them?”
Trump also addressed foreign aid to Pakistan in the tweets, writing that the US pays the country “billions of dollars to for nothing.”
The president changed US policy on Israel, and Jerusalem in particular, in a landmark speech in December. In his remarks, Trump explicitly said that Jerusalem was the capital of Israel and the US would be moving its embassy in the country to the holy city from Tel Aviv.
The president’s speech spurred weeks of deadly protests in the Palestinian territory and across the Arab world.
Recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and moving the US embassy were both among Trump’s campaign promises, and change decades of US policy in the Middle East.
Notably, Trump said that the US is not making any decisions on borders of an East and West Jerusalem, or a final status agreement of the city, which has long been considered to be determined by negotiations.
“We are not taking a position of any final status issues including the specific boundaries of the Israeli sovereignty in Jerusalem or the resolution of contested borders,” Trump said in his speech. “Those questions are up to the parties involved.”
While East Jerusalem, including the historic Old City, has been under Israeli control since 1967, Palestinians view it as the capital of any future state. The status of the city has long been a sticking point in any Israeli-Palestinian negotiations.
“Jerusalem is a place for Jews to pray at the Western Wall and Muslims to pray at the Al-Aqsa mosque,” the president said in December.
Trump now seems to have contradicted his speech and embraced a hardline policy that many Arab states feared. Without the opportunity for discussions on Jerusalem, it’s unlikely Palestinian leadership would agree to any US-led peace talks.