Donald Trump says his decision on Jerusalem is long overdue

Trump, flanked by Deputy Secretary of State John Sullivan (left) and Defence Secretary James Mattis (right), speaks to reporters before holding a Cabinet meeting.
Trump, flanked by Deputy Secretary of State John Sullivan (left) and Defence Secretary James Mattis (right), speaks to reporters before holding a Cabinet meeting.PHOTO: REUTERS

WASHINGTON (AFP) - Shortly before a momentous announcement recognising Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, US President Donald Trump said on Wednesday (Dec 6) the move was “long overdue”.

“Many presidents have said they want to do something and they didn’t do it. Whether it’s courage or they changed their mind, I can’t tell you,” Trump said, portraying himself as daring to fulfill a promise that previous presidents have shied away from.

“I think it’s long overdue,” he said, in a Cabinet meeting ahead of his midday speech on Israel.

Trump is expected to upend decades of US policy later on Wednesday by stating that the holy city – part of which is claimed by Palestinians – rightfully belongs to Israel.

The announcement has been preceded by warnings of a violent response in the Muslim world and demonstrators in the Gaza Strip burning American flags.