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美國中東政策

Trump upends decades of policy on Israel

美國總統不顧世界各地盟友的警告,推翻了美國數十年來的外交政策。他將這一決定描繪為對現實不可避免的承認。

In deciding to recognise Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and trigger plans to move the US embassy there from Tel Aviv, President Donald Trump has defied warnings from allies across the world and overturned decades of US foreign policy.

The US president said he would take the landmark step yesterday afternoon, describing it as a long overdue move that would advance the peace process and declaring the US would support a two-state solution for the Palestinians and Israelis should the sides embrace such an outcome.

The decision allows Mr Trump to demonstrate resolve on a hugely symbolic issue and redeem a pledge to supporters and donors that he first made during the presidential campaign. The president dismayed some backers in June when he continued with previous practice by signing a six-month waiver to a congressional requirement demanding that the US embassy be moved.

「It is clear he doesn』t like exercising these waivers, and he doesn』t like to look like other presidents; he is showing he does it his way,」 said Dennis Ross, a former Middle East adviser at the White House who is now at the Washington Institute.

Mr Trump portrayed the decision as an inevitable recognition of reality, and advisers dismissed warnings from the Palestinians and allies including Jordan that it could derail the peace talks. The US was not pre-empting future discussions over how Jerusalem could ultimately be divided up, and nor was it questioning ultra-sensitive areas including the area known as the Temple Mount to Jews and the Haram al-Sharif to Muslims, they insisted.

Moving the embassy could take years to achieve, and the president will meanwhile once again sign another six-month waiver under a congressional law requiring it to be relocated. The move would help the peace process by demonstrating the president』s credibility to the world, said one White House official. 「It rectifies this historic wrong. He』s not a man who makes excuses.」

Leaders around the world — among them Mahmoud Abbas, the president of the Palestinian Authority, King Abdullah of Jordan, and Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan — warned the move would have dangerous consequences. The Saudi state news agency quoted an unnamed foreign ministry official as saying the recognition will have 「serious implications and will be provocative to all Muslims」.

The status of the divided city is hugely delicate and its fate is one of the thorniest issues of the Israeli-Palestinian peace process. Israel regards Jerusalem as its undivided capital and claims sovereignty over the whole city. But the international community views East Jerusalem as occupied land and the Palestinians consider it their future capital.

No nation has an embassy in Jerusalem. The international community』s position has long been that Jerusalem』s status should be determined by peace talks.

While the decision was commended by pro-Israel lobby groups including the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, or AIPAC, some analysts predicted it would put parties including Mr Abbas on the defensive while emboldening extremist groups.

Hassan Abu Hanieh, a Jordanian security analyst, said it could enable a recruitment bonanza for jihadi groups, who will use the move as a symbol of aggression against Muslims.

Mr Trump has promised to broker what he has described as the 「ultimate」 deal to end the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and Trump advisers, led by his son-in-law Jared Kushner, have been hoping to unveil plans for a new peace process as soon as early 2018.

A person with ties to Saudi officials said Mr Kushner had in recent months met Saudi crown prince Mohammed bin Salman and Abu Dhabi』s crown prince Mohammed bin Zayed in an effort to formulate a new peace settlement. They discussed pushing the Palestinians into making deeper concessions, he said.

However he added this had not been connected with the Jerusalem issue.

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