PHOENIX — President Donald Trump declared Jerusalem as Israel’s capital on Wednesday, a move that brought praise from a number of Arizona Republicans despite the criticism it raised from nearly all U.S. allies.
In separate statements, Reps. Martha McSally, Andy Biggs and Trent Franks and U.S. Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) praised the announcement.
McSally said the move “[fulfills] our promise to our ally and formally [recognizes] the Jewish State of Israel’s undivided capital.”
The decision “sends a strong and clear message to the international community that we are beginning a new chapter in our alliance, one in which America keeps our promises towards Israel and doesn’t waffle about where our true allegiance lies,” she added.
In a statement, Biggs also applauded Trump’s decision and said he is praying “for a peaceful transition.”
Franks praised the move in a series of tweets on Wednesday, saying the decision is “historic and long overdue.”
McCain, the senior Arizona senator, said he has “long believed that Jerusalem is the true capital of Israel” but added that “issues surrounding the final and permanent status of Jerusalem must ultimately be resolved by Israelis and Palestinians.
“That is why today’s policy announcement, as well as any future relocation of the U.S. Embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, should be part of a comprehensive diplomatic strategy in coordination with regional partners to achieve peace and security between Israelis and Palestinians.”
Trump made the move to declare the sorely divided holy city as Israel’s capital on Wednesday, shattering decades of unwavering U.S. neutrality on Jerusalem and sparking frustrated Palestinians to cry out that he had destroyed already-fragile Mideast hopes for peace.
Defying dire, worldwide warnings, Trump insisted that after repeated peace failures it was past time for a new approach, starting with what he said was his decision merely based on reality to recognize Jerusalem as the seat of Israel’s government. He also said the United States would move its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, though he set no timetable.
Harsh objections came from a wide array of presidents and prime ministers. From the Middle East to Europe and beyond, leaders cautioned Trump that any sudden change on an issue as sensitive as Jerusalem not only risks blowing up the new Arab-Israeli peace initiative led by Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, but could lead to new violence in the region.
No government beyond Israel spoke up in praise of Trump or suggested it would follow his lead.
Muslims across the Middle East warned of disastrous consequences after Trump made the declaration, but in a region more divided than ever, many asked what leaders can do beyond the vehement rhetoric.
Arab powerhouses are mired in their own internal troubles, their populations tired of wars, and the days when Arab leaders could challenge the United States in a meaningful way are long gone.
Beyond the eruption of protests and potential explosion of violence, there is little the Arab world can do to challenge Trump’s move, unanimously decried by leaders.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.