gettyimages 887054544 Trump declares Jerusalem capital of Israel; moving embassy from Tel Aviv

Palestinian men watch US President Donald Trump at a cafe in Jerusalem. In a speech, he recognized the disputed city of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital on December 6, 2017, a historic decision that overturns decades of US policy and risks triggering a fresh spasm of violence in the Middle East. (AHMAD GHARABLI/AFP/Getty Images)

By Caitlin M. Kenney

WASHINGTON—The United States will “finally acknowledge the obvious: that Jerusalem is Israel’s capital” and will be moving its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, President Donald Trump announced Wednesday.

“While previous presidents have made this a major campaign promise, they failed to deliver. Today, I am delivering,” Trump said during a statement at the White House.

“I’ve judged this 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.”

According to Reuters, no other country has an embassy in Jerusalem.

Prior to the president’s speech on Israel, Pentagon spokesman Col. Robert Manning told members of the media that “the Department of Defense takes necessary steps to mitigate threats to US personnel and interests around the world.”

“In addition, DOD continually works closely with the State Department’s Bureau of Diplomatic Security to protect US interests at all embassies and consulates,” he said.

When asked if Defense Secretary James Mattis was confident about security at the embassy and that US personnel will be safe if there is violence, Manning responded “absolutely.”

“We are protecting our embassies and the department takes very seriously the steps to make sure that we mitigate the US personnel interests around the world,” he said.

To a follow up question about whether embassies have taken any additional precautions in light of the president’s announcement, Manning said that US embassies are protected for “any situation including the potential or in the advent something occurs here.”

“Without speculating on what could occur, is that we are postured and ready to respond to a range of threats,” he added.

The Associated Press is reporting that there have been spontaneous protests in the Gaza Strip after Trump’s announcement and US embassies in Turkey, Jordan, Germany and Britain issued security alerts urging Americans to exercise vigilance and caution. Other embassies are expected to follow suit.

Additional reporting by The Associated Press.

Connect: @CaitlinMKenney | Caitlin@ConnectingVets.com

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