Today, President Donald Trump’s decision to officially recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel was preceded, and followed by, controversy.
After the announcement was made, Spectrum News went straight to a local expert on this matter, who has decades worth of knowledge on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Trump did what has been in the works since 1995, when then-President Clinton, acting on Congress' passing of the Jerusalem Embassy Act of 1995, began a long delay of moving the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem by issuing a six-month waiver that has been extended by every successive president.
“He’s [Trump] the first. Presidents have always said -- everyone says during the campaign -- they’ll move the embassy, and they don’t do it," said Stephen Berk, the Henry and Sally Schaffer Professor of Holocaust and Jewish Studies at Union College.
Recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of the State of Israel, Berk says, put the United States behind a legitimate Israeli claim.
“Any objective observer looking back 3,000 years would have to agree no country has treated shrines of all three religions as well and as equally as has Israel," said Berk.
Peace, though, is far from reality in the Middle East and beyond. Several U.S. embassies in the Middle East and Europe are issuing warnings.
In London, the U.S. reacted to President Trump's announcement by stating, “It may cause protests, some of which may have the potential to become violent.”
"It can escalate, but I think the responsibility here rests not with Israelis, but leaders of Palestinian people," Berk said. "They can calm their people, tell them negotiations are still open."
Trump made it clear on Wednesday that he wants both sides to come to an agreement.
“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 president said.
In his announcement, Trump also said Vice President Mike Pence would visit various regions in the Middle East in the coming days.