President Trump announces that the U.S. recognizes Jerusalem as capital of Israel

This week's panel: Bob Price - Associate Editor Breitbart Texas, Nyanza Moore - progressive commentator and Houston attorney, Tony Diaz- Chicano educator and activist, Marcus Davis - host of "Sunday Morning Live",  Jared Woodfill, conservative attorney, and Jessica Colon - Republican strategist discuss the reactions to Trump having the U.S. recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.

JERUSALEM (AP) - Breaking with decades of U.S. policy, President Donald Trump on Wednesday recognized Jerusalem as Israel's capital, a declaration that set off a wave of clashes between Palestinians and Israeli forces and drew sharp criticism from U.S. allies in the Middle East and beyond.

Here's a look at why U.S. recognition of the holy city as Israel's capital matters.


Israel has considered Jerusalem its capital since the state's establishment in 1948 and sees the city as the ancient capital of the Jewish people.

In the 1967 Mideast war, Israel captured the city's eastern sector and later annexed it in a move that is not recognized internationally. Israel's government ministries and institutions are all located in Jerusalem and Israelis across the political spectrum see the city as their capital.

Israel is likely the only country in the world whose capital isn't recognized internationally.

The Palestinians equally lay claim to Jerusalem and want the eastern part of the city as capital of their future state. Some 200,000 Palestinians live in that part of the city and Palestinians claim a deep cultural, historical and religious connection to the city.

The Old City, located in east Jerusalem, is home to sites holy to Jews, Christians and Muslims. These include the Western Wall, the holiest site where Jews can pray, and the Al-Aqsa Mosque, Islam's third holiest site.

It is one of the most explosive issues in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and to that end, the U.S., along with most other countries, has maintained its embassy in Tel Aviv, saying the status of Jerusalem should be resolved between the sides in negotiations.



The U.S. remains the world's most influential superpower and a key player across the region. For the past quarter of a century, it has played a special role as the lead mediator between Israel and the Palestinians in on-again, off-again peace talks.

Although it cannot singlehandedly dictate a solution to the Jerusalem dispute, its opinions carry great weight with both parties and traditionally influence others to follow its lead.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has been one of Trump's most vocal supporters globally and has been outspoken about his gratitude for Trump's declaration on Jerusalem. But the Palestinians, and much of the international community, view the declaration as a unilateral action that could dash hopes for a negotiated two-state solution.



As with other issues such as climate change and global free trade agreements, Trump finds himself at odds with the international community.

American friends and foes alike have almost universally criticized Trump's decision with exceptionally harsh language. The European Union, along with Germany, Britain and France, as well as the pope and key Arab allies, have denounced the move.

While the U.S. remains a power in the region, its influence in the Middle East has been on the decline. Some saw U.S. weakness in the Obama administration's handling of the war in Syria and its concessions to Iran for the 2015 nuclear deal. Trump's insistence on putting "America first" seems to presage a further drawdown.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has vowed to rally the world against the U.S. decision, reaching out to traditional Arab allies as well as Europeans nations. As a first step, the Palestinians asked the U.N. Security Council to demand that the U.S. decision be rescinded.



Trump's announcement has elicited shock, sadness and anger from Arabs across the Middle East. But there have also been feelings of resignation and shrugs from many who have long given up on their leaders standing up to either Israel or the United States.

The Palestinians have been worn down by decades of conflict and years of stalled peace efforts, as their cause has been overshadowed by the fighting in Syria and Iraq, and regional concerns about Iran. Many of their Sunni Arab allies are believed to have expanded covert ties with Israel to counter Tehran.

Randa Slim, an analyst with the Washington-based Middle East Institute, tweeted Wednesday: "In times of fear and repression and revolution fatigue I will not be surprised if we don't see the kind of demonstrations people expect. This does not mean people are not angry. How people express their anger is different than in past."

Israel and the U.S. may be counting on this crisis to pass, allowing Trump to renew his efforts to clinch what he calls "the ultimate deal," while leaving Israel firmly in control of the holy city.

JERUSALEM (AP) - It is rare and perhaps unique for the world to interfere with a country's choice of its own capital. But that is far from the only unusual thing about Jerusalem.

Here is a look at some of the extraordinary facts about the city that Israel claims as its capital, even though nearly 40 percent of its population are not Israeli citizens:



Jerusalem is home to key holy sites for the world's three monotheistic religions - concentrated in the Old City. The densely packed area, less than one square kilometer (one-third of a square mile), hosts the Western Wall and the adjacent hilltop compound revered by Jews as the Temple Mount, the spot where the biblical Temples once stood and the holiest site in Judaism. Palestinians revere the same hilltop compound as the Noble Sanctuary, Islam's third-holiest site, where the Al Aqsa Mosque and gold-topped Dome of the Rock are located. Nearby is the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, which Christians revere as the spot where Jesus was crucified, buried and resurrected. Adding to the mix, Jordan, the former ruler of the Old City, retains custodial rights over Muslim holy sites, while Morocco and Saudi Arabia also claim to be their protectors. This tiny area may be the world's most combustible piece of real estate.



Jerusalem has long served as Israel's capital, hosting all major branches of government, even if not formally recognized by the international community. Yet nearly all of Jerusalem's 330,000 Palestinians - about 37 percent of the city's population - are not Israeli citizens, according to figures from the Jerusalem Institute for Policy Research. Israel captured east Jerusalem in the 1967 Mideast war and granted Palestinians "residency" rights that allow them to work and move about, without the right to vote in national elections. Palestinians living in Jerusalem aren't citizens of any country and travel abroad using temporary documents issued by Israel or Jordan. While eligible to apply for citizenship, few Palestinians have, fearing it would amount to recognition of Israel's control. Those who do apply complain of a lengthy bureaucratic process that can take years.



Although Israel considers Jerusalem to be its undivided capital, most of the city's territory lies in east Jerusalem, land considered occupied by the rest of the world. The city nearly tripled in size after it captured east Jerusalem in the 1967 Mideast war, then annexed the area and expanded the municipal boundaries to include open space and neighboring Palestinian villages. About 60 percent of the city's residents now live in east Jerusalem. That includes over 200,000 Jewish Israelis living in areas that Israel calls neighborhoods and much of the world considers illegal settlements. Hard-line members of the Israeli government are currently pushing proposals to annex neighboring West Bank settlements and rid the city of outlying Palestinian neighborhoods that lie outside a separation barrier as part of a plan to strengthen the city's Jewish majority.



Jerusalem is Israel's largest city. It is also the poorest, largely due to its high number of Arabs and ultra-Orthodox Jews. According to the Jerusalem Institute for Policy Research, 47 percent of its residents and 58 percent of its children lived under the poverty line in 2015. Ultra-Orthodox schools face criticism for not teaching important skills, such as math and English, while Palestinian areas suffer from neglect and a low number of women entering the work force. Most of the driving force behind Israel's economic engine is based in the central area of Tel Aviv, and many young Jewish Jerusalemites flock there for jobs in the booming financial and high-tech sectors. Jerusalem is home to the top-notch Hebrew University, but many of its students migrate to Tel Aviv after graduating. In addition, many families leave the city because of its high housing costs.



In contrast to the vibrant coastal scene in Tel Aviv, many parts of the far more conservative Jerusalem largely come to a standstill on the Jewish Sabbath. Most shops and places of entertainment shut down and traffic slows to a trickle. In its many ultra-Orthodox neighborhoods roads are blocked off on the Sabbath and clashes have erupted when cars have traveled nearby or ventured in. Despite its deep poverty, real estate prices remain high and have been driven up by high demand of wealthy diaspora Jews who have purchased upscale vacation homes that remain empty most of the year - contributing to the "Ghost Town" feeling of several neighborhoods.