Hailing Trump, Jerusalem projects US flag onto Old City walls

Mayor Nir Barkat says announcement recognizing city as capital is a ‘gesture and expression of the courageous friendship’ between Americans and Israelis

The Jerusalem municipality on Wednesday projected the US and Israeli flags onto the walls of the Old City in a show of appreciation over the US President Donald Trump’s expected recognition of the city as the capital of Israel.

From 7 p.m., the red, white, and blue American banner was projected next to the blue and white of the Israeli flag, celebrating the expected announcement. The flags were screened on the 16th century walls from Jaffa Gate in the direction of Mount Zion.

Trump was scheduled to make the controversial announcement recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and his plan to move the US Embassy there from Tel Aviv at around 8 p.m. Israel time, shifting decades of US policy.

The move will address Israel’s long-standing claim to the city as its undivided capital, but leaders around the world have warned it could harm peace efforts and spark violence.

Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat said that Trump’s expected announcement “is a historic declaration that sends a clear message to the entire world that the US stands with the Jewish people, the State of Israel and Jerusalem.”

Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat speaks in Jerusalem, September 25, 2017. (Hadas Parush/Flash90)

“As a gesture and expression of the courageous friendship between the American people and the people of Israel, we decided to project the American and Israeli flags onto the walls of Jerusalem’s Old City, the ultimate symbol of the strength of the Jewish people’s connection to Jerusalem for over 3,000 years,” Barkat said in the statement.

In addition, the Bridge of Strings that carries the light rail train over the entrance to Jerusalem was illuminated in red, white and blue.

Trump’s announcement, making good on an election campaign promise, would mark a major milestone for Israel’s efforts to gain international legitimacy for its claims to Jerusalem. Israel calls Jerusalem its undivided capital, but the international community has refrained from recognizing it as such pending final status negotiations with the Palestinians, who seek the eastern half of the city as their own seat of power in a future state.

Israel’s government rejects partition of the city.

Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital could be viewed as America discarding its longstanding neutrality and siding with Israel at a time that his son-in-law and senior adviser Jared Kushner has been trying to midwife a new peace process into existence. Trump, too, has spoken of his desire for a “deal of the century” that would end the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

The Palestinians, backed by diplomats and governments around the world, have warned that US recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel could provoke a furious response that would unsettle the region.

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