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Tucsonans weigh in on Jerusalem decision

Posted at 10:24 PM, Dec 06, 2017
and last updated 2017-12-07 00:24:05-05

President Trump declared the United States will officially recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, and that country will begin to move the embassy from Tel Aviv, on Wednesday. This decision is receiving praise and criticism from people across the world, and also, here in Tucson.

Stuart Mellan is the President & CEO of the Jewish Federation of Southern Arizona. He believes this was a symbolic gesture that will reinvigorate peace talks in the region.

"This was always acknowledged, that Jerusalem is the capital of Israel," Mellan said. "It has always been that. So let's focus on creating a brighter future out of this moment."

He believes this decision will help shine a new light on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, that will hopefully help lead to peace.

"This is not the end of any road," he said. "The road needs to be embarked upon to create peace for all of the people in the region."

Fatin Ghosn, an Associate Professor at the University of Arizona's School of Government and Public Policy, believes there will be serious consequences in the region, stemming from this declaration.

"It needs to be a rational decision, that is calculated, that says look -- here are the reasons as to why -- I understand these consequences," Ghosn said. "I feel like these consequences were not taken into consideration."

Some of the consequences she believes may come: national security threats, U.S. interests being compromised, and the safety of American troops in the region.

"This is taking away hope from the Palestinians that there may be a state for them. And when you take away hope from people, then they have nothing to live for," she said. "When you have nothing to live for? That can be very dangerous. And that also worries me."

Senator John McCain released a statement after the President's announcement on Wednesday.

“I have long believed that Jerusalem is the true capital of Israel. However, issues surrounding the final and permanent status of Jerusalem must ultimately be resolved by Israelis and Palestinians as part of an internationally supported peace process. 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.”

-Senator John McCain