Israel Policy Forum (IPF) welcomes President Trump’s endorsement of a two-state solution if agreed to by both sides. We further welcome the president’s statement that even as the United States recognizes the reality that Jerusalem is the capital of Israel, the final status of the borders of the city must be negotiated between the parties and that the status quo at the Temple Mount/Haram al-Sharif must be maintained.

Like every other country in the world, Israel has the right to determine its own capital, and American recognition of Jerusalem as the Israeli capital today by President Trump rights a longstanding historical wrong. However, there are many deeply concerning risks associated with today’s announcement, as IPF Policy Director Michael Koplow elucidated in his testimony to Congress last month, which we believe make the president’s statement ill-timed and potentially dangerous.

The timing of this announcement risks undermining the U.S. effort to advance an Israeli-Palestinian agreement, creating tensions with key regional allies and potentially sparking violence and unrest. Despite stating that recognition of Jerusalem does not impact borders or final status issues and is indeed not a judgment on the specific contours of Israeli sovereignty in Jerusalem, President Trump’s reference to Jerusalem without any qualifiers threatens to make a peace agreement between Israelis and Palestinians more difficult to achieve.

We are deeply concerned that the president’s attempt to advance a nuanced policy on the most sensitive geopolitical issue in the region — the status of Jerusalem — will be lost on Palestinian and Arab publics.

Making this announcement before unveiling a peace initiative threatens to doom the effort before it gets off the ground and would have been more productive to the cause of a peace deal had it been done after negotiations had resumed rather than before.

We urge caution from all sides in the wake of today’s announcement. It should not be treated as license for violence on the Palestinian side nor should it be treated as an acceptance of maximalist Israeli claims regarding an undivided city. Recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel is a justified step, but the president would have been better served by clearly stating that American policy on the status of East Jerusalem remains unchanged.