In a speech on Wednesday, President Trump will formally recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital, the first step in moving the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv, Israel's internationally recognized capital, to Jerusalem. The State Department and European and Arab leaders have warned Trump against making the move, saying it will almost certainly spark violence from Palestinians and Muslims across the Middle East, and kill the Palestinian-Israeli peace efforts.
Some White House officials argue that Trump's decision to recognize Jerusalem, as he promised he would during the campaign, actually "strengthens his credibility around the world as a someone who stands by his word, isn't intimidated by threats, and doesn't cave to international pressure," Israeli journalist Barak Ravid writes at Axios. And they say the peace process can continue because Trump will say he is open to a two-state solution, a plan every president since Bill Clinton has endorsed.
Time will tell if Trump and his advisers are right, but there are some good reasons why the world recognizes Tel Aviv as Israel's capital — Jerusalem is important to Christianity and Islam, not just Judaism, for example, and Palestinians also consider occupied East Jerusalem as the capital of their prospective state. You can learn more about why Jerusalem is a controversial capital in the short New York Times explainer below. Peter Weber