WASHINGTON (CBS) President Donald Trump reversed decades of U.S. policy, risking intense fallout through the Middle East.
"It is time to officially recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel," Trump said Wednesday.
The president says he's starting the multiyear process of moving the American embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem and asked the region to show restraint.
"Today we call for calm, for moderation and for the voices of tolerance to prevail over the purveyors of hate," Trump said.
Jerusalem is Israel's holiest city but also home to one of Islam's holiest sites, and the Palestinians want East Jerusalem as their own capital.
Trump's announcement fulfills a campaign promise. And it's popular with his Christian Evangelical supporters, who believe the Jewish state is a biblical prophecy.
Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu thanked Trump and said his announcement will advance peace.
"There is no peace that doesn't include Jerusalem as the capital of the state of Israel," Netanyahu said.
Protests have already started in the West Bank and Gaza and Arab leaders are speaking out, including Jordan's King Abdullah.
"Ignoring the Palestinian, Muslim and Christian rights in Jerusalem will only fuel further extremism and undermine the war against terrorism," Abdullah said.
An adviser to the Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said Trump's decision signals the end of Washington's role as a mediator for peace in the Middle East.