Trump recognizes Jerusalem as Israel's capital in historic move

"My announcement today marks the beginning of a new approach to conflict between Israel and the Palestinians," Trump said from the White House, where he was joined by Vice President Mike Pence.
19:51 | 12/06/17

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Transcript for Trump recognizes Jerusalem as Israel's capital in historic move
This is an ABC news special room. Now reported George Stephanopoulos. Good day we are coming on the air because president trump about to enter the diplomatic room of the White House and announced that he will formally recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. Ultimately move the US embassy there from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. It is a controversial decision already sparked protests across the region. And condemnation from the Arab world and US allies who believe the status of Jerusalem should be settled in peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians. Many US presidential candidates have promised to make this move president trump the first to follow through. Whenever in our senior White House correspondent Sicily giving against the C a first and foremost that is how president trump sees this a promise kept. Exactly George and I'm told by aides here that he actually wanted to do this much sooner than today but he learned when he took this job you can't snap your finger as one aide told me and move an embassy here he has been under. Immense pressure to make this move from evangelicals from pro Israel groups frankly from some very big donors as well. But even if the embassy doesn't open any time soon and this is expo expected to take years. And this White House is going to paint this as a campaign promise fulfilled George perhaps even at the expense of the peace process. That is the political situation home want to bring in our chief global affairs anchor Martha Raddatz already. You seen our allies in Europe in the region condemn this move they say it is going to be dangerous is gonna spark protests complicating the peace process. It certainly will George whenever peace process there is right now whenever peace initiative there is right now. Of course Jared Kushner has been working on this. I think this is a signal that things aren't going very well with that peace initiative we haven't heard very much about it and I'll toss it back to. George poison front and Truman vice president parents the diplomatic school White House. Thank you. When I came into office I promised. To look at the world's challenges. With open eyes and very fresh thinking. We cannot solve our problems. By making the same failed assumptions. And repeating the same failed strategies. Of the past. All challenges demand new approaches. My announcement today marks the beginning. Of a new approach. To conflict between Israel and the Palestinians. In 1995. Congress adopted the Jerusalem embassy act. Urging the federal government to relocate. The American Embassy to Jerusalem. And to recognize. That that city. And so importantly. Is Israel's. Capital. This act passed congress by an overwhelming bipartisan majority. And was reaffirmed by unanimous vote. Of the senate only six. Months ago. Yet for over twenty years. Every previous. American president. Has exercise. The law's waiver refusing to move the US embassy to Jerusalem. Or to recognize. Jerusalem. As Israel's. Capital city. Presidents issued these waivers under the belief that delaying the recognition of Jerusalem. Would advance the cause of peace. Some say they lacked courage. But they made there best judgments. They stored facts as they understood them at the time. Nevertheless the record is it. 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. Therefore I have determined. That it is time. To officially recognize. Jerusalem. As to capitol. Of Israel. While previous presidents have made this a major campaign promise. They failed. To deliver. Today. I am delivering. I've judges course of action to be in the best interests. Of the United States of America. And the pursuit of peace between Israel. And the Palestinians. This is a long overdue step to advance the peace process. And to worked towards a lasting. Agreement. Israel is a sovereign nation. With the right. Like every other sovereign nation. To determine its own capital. Acknowledging this is a fact. Is a necessary condition for achieving peace. It was seventy years ago. That the United States under president Truman. Recognized. The State of Israel. Ever since then Israel has made its capital. In the city of Jerusalem. The capital the Jewish people established. In ancient times. Today Jerusalem. Is the seat. Of the modern Israeli. Government. It is the home. Of the Israeli parliament. Thick and asked as well as the Israeli. Supreme Court. It is the location. Of the official residence of the prime minister. And the president. It is the headquarters. Of many government. Ministries. For decades visiting American presidents. Secretaries of state. And military leaders have met. Their Israeli counterparts. In Jerusalem. As I did on my trip to Israel earlier this year. Jewish. Is not just the heart of three great religions. But it is now also the heart of one of the most successful. Democracies. In the world. Over the past seven decades. The Israeli people have built a country. Where Jews Muslims and Christians. And people. Of all things are free to live. And worship according to their conscience. And according to their beliefs. Jerusalem. Is today. And must remain. A place where Jews pray at the western world where Christians walk. The stations of the cross. And where Muslims worship. At a locks. Mosques. However through all of these years presidents representing the United States have declined to officially recognized Jerusalem. As Israel's capital. In fact. We have declined to acknowledge. Any Israeli cap at all. But today we finally acknowledged the obvious. That Jerusalem. Is Israel's capital. This is nothing more or less. Than a recognition. Of reality. It'd also with the right thing to do. It's something that has to be done that is why. Consistent with the Jerusalem. Embassy act. I am also directing the State Department to begin preparation. To move the American Embassy. From Tel Aviv. To Jerusalem. This will immediately begin the process of hiring architects. Engineers and planners so that a new embassy. When completed will be a magnificent. Tribute to peace. In making these announcements I also want to make one point. Very. Clear. This decision is not intended in any way to reflect a departure from our strong commitment. To facilitate. A lasting peace agreement. We want an agreement that is a great deal for the Israelis. And a great deal for the Palestinians. 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. Those questions are up to the parties involved. The United States remains deeply committed. To helping facilitate a peace agreement that is acceptable. To both. Sites. I intend. To do everything in my power. To help Ford should such 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. In the meantime. I call on all parties to maintain the status quo. At Jerusalem's holy sites including. The temple mount also known as a rom called Sharif. Above all our greatest hope. Is for peace. They universal yearning. In every human soul. With today's action. I reaffirm. My administration's long standing commitment to a future of peace and security for the region. There will of course be disagreement. And dissent. Regarding this announcement. But we are confident that ultimately. As we work through these disagreements. We will arrived at a piece. And a place. Far greater. In understanding and cooperation. This sacred city should call forth the best in humanity. Lifting our sites to what it is possible not pulling us back. And down to the old fights. That have become. So totally predictable. Peace is never beyond the grass. Of those willing to reach. So today we call for calm. For moderation. And that the voices of tolerance. To prevail over their purveyors of hate. Our children should inherit our love. Not our conflicts. I repeat the message I delivered. At the historic an extraordinary summit in Saudi Arabia. Earlier this year. The Middle East is a region rich with culture spirit and history. It's people are brilliant proud and taveras. Vibrant and strong. What the incredible future awaiting this region. Is held it may by bloodshed. Ignorance and Tara. Vice president parents will travel to the region in the coming days to reaffirm our commitment. To work with partners throughout the Middle East to defeat radicalism. That threatens the hopes and dreams. A future. Generations. It is time. For the many who desire. Peace. To expel the extremists. From the yemenis. It is time for all civilized nations and peoples. To respond to disagreement. With reasoned debate. Not violence. And it is time for young. And moderate voices. All across the Middle East to claim to themselves. A bright. And beautiful. Future. So today. Let us rededicate ourselves. To a path. Of mutual understanding and respect. Let us rethink all of the assumptions and open our hearts and mileage. To possible. And possibilities. And finally I asked the leaders of the region. Political or religious. Israeli and Palestinian Jewish and Christian and Muslim to join us. In the noble. Quest. The lasting peace. Thank you. God bless you god bless Israel. God bless the Palestinians. And god bless. United church thank you very much thank you. President trump they're closing his remarks and diplomatic room with a plea for peace and calm. In the middle is to see signs those papers. After placing himself in the tradition of Harry Truman the first US president to recognize a State of Israel present truck. Becoming the first American president to recognize Jerusalem. As the capital in this field putting those signature on the pages right there says eventually. After planning. You'll move the United States embassy from Tel Aviv. To Jerusalem or bring him. Our chief foreign correspondent Kelli arena for more on its present also says business just a recognition of reality Jerusalem as the capital of Israel he saying it's also. The right thing to do. Where might not be a recognition of reality is his point. That this does not signal a departure of for the peace process that's not how our allies in the Arab world see. I've not just. Our allies in not the Arab world George all around the world looked at no country in the world. Has their embassy in Jerusalem although and now the United States will of this process continues that's. Ask is have why did the reason is because every country in the world has for decades recognized. How dangerous how intensely emotional how profound an issue this is sacred ground for three of the Mitt world's major religions. And so would not only does this put the United States out of step with Arab allies are European allies. But it does put us out of step with the United States out of step. Would leaders around the world because it nullify as the possibility. Of negotiation. On this process he says. That that he still opened a two state solution but Palestinians who also believe that Jerusalem is their capital. Now field that conversation has been closed. And the United States really got nothing for giving away this this concession in these negotiations it is a unilateral step that is out of step. With countries around the world it was a full throated articulation of the Israeli position I want to bring in our chief White House correspondent John Carl. As well John I think there's a little bit of an analogue to the president's approach domestic politics. Here as well strong supporter of Israel during the campaign strong supporter of Israeli prime minister Bibi Netanyahu he's focusing on his core supporters. And focusing on keeping what was a core campaign promise I mean he promised like many Republican candidates in the past. He promised that he would recognize. Jerusalem as the capital of Israel that he would move the US embassy. To Jerusalem. And now he is following through at least with the first part of that not George he did hold back a little bit I seized and begin the process. Of studying and moving towards moving the embassy if you wanted to go further re could have there is a US consulate in Jerusalem. That could be immediately Chris into the embassy he stopped short of that Andy Terry's point I think. The way the White House views this is there still is. Negotiation on this point because the White House is not ruling out. The possibility of a Palestinian state having its capital in Jerusalem as well having its capital in East Jerusalem. So so that this is not as far as he courted gone in the White House is trying to say they are leaving open. The peace puppy off a peace process here. And they're saying it could take as -- years to move the embassy yes as well let me bring back our chief global affairs anchor Martha Raddatz right at the top. And his remarks there marquis said that old challenges. Need new approach is what we didn't hear in those remarks is any annunciation what that new approach might look like overall. Exactly Georgian and basically he left it as if this is the only reason we didn't have a peace agreement before. By declaring Jerusalem the capital. Also I have to say that it's a big world out there this isn't just about domestic politics and we are at a place in the world where there are so many conflicts still ongoing. You look at or rockets in time we're trying to stabilize Iraq. And look at North Korea so I think a lot of people a lot of our allies a lot of people in the Arab world as well are saying why now why throw. Flames. Wanna go to York correspondent James Longman in the region in Israel bring dangerous -- right there and James the president called for calm. In those in that statement as well but this is a tense region now. To exit out sedate he is and what people he'll be looking voice and clarity don't talk made no mention of the woods east or west he just said. That he thinks that Israel should have a capital city and should be Jerusalem so I think people hit Palestinians the ticking of Venus looking for some clarity many people here. Didn't really believe the Donald Trump would make this sort of statement there was some disbelief case I think as the realization. Gritty stuff to sing can't know what this could mean Pakistan underestimate the symbolism of this president Donald Trump standing up and saying this the first time. The United Nations the United States saying something I this. Back kind of symbolism not kind of message to the Middle East and to this region especially could mean trouble site for the moment Palestinians just taking it in but I think it could mean trouble. As the week guys on. To locate James thanks for much of the rector senior White House correspondent to save eight of her final word right here Jericho shares Martha said. Has been the president's point person on this Middle East peace process but he just said he's going to be seeing the vice president of the region. Yet George and I was struck by the positioning of the vice vice president during the president's remarks they're very prominently displayed. Right behind president trucks perhaps. A nod to the evangelicals here at and and and that concession that the president is giving them by doing this this is that this was a big campaign promise and he has faced a lot of pressure. From pro Israel groups and evangelicals namely particularly Sheldon. Annals Allison that big. Dad love Las Vegas casino magnate a huge donor to the president who was very unhappy when president trump signed that waiver six months ago the White House says that was part of the pressure that this president face he has to sign the waiver again he did not want to sign it without looking like. He was not following through on that campaign promise but but it remains to be seen George going forward what really will happen with this there are no plans. In the works right now to build that embassy so. We will see whether this happens under a president trump tenure or someone else. It's dramatic move today from president trump is announcing. Becoming the first American president to announced that Jerusalem formally recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel as you just pretty justices eventually. You'll see nice is who move the embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem mark coverage. It's gonna continue on line of course much more tonight on world news to David Muir. They need the latest breaking news alerts anytime by downloading our ABC news that. Have a good day. This has been a special. For me he's.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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