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Romania recognizes Jerusalem as Israel’s capital

Romanian Prime Minister Viorica Dancila said Sunday that her country would recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and relocate its embassy from Tel Aviv.

The diplomatic status of Jerusalem has been hotly disputed since US President Donald Trump recognized the city as Israel’s capital in late 2017.

What you need to know:

  • Dancila said Romania would move its “embassy to Jerusalem, the capital of the State of Israel.”
  • Romania would “remain the same loyal friend and the strongest European voice in support of the Jewish people and the State of Israel,” she added.
  • The prime minister made the announcement at the annual conference of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), a powerful pro-Israel lobby group.

Read more: Jerusalem: Three things to know

‘Violation of Palestinian rights’

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said: “I congratulate my friend, the Prime Minister of Romania, Viorica Dancila, on her announcement at AIPAC that she would act to complete the procedures needed to open the Romanian embassy in Jerusalem.”

Saeb Erekat, a senior Palestine Liberation Organization official, said Dancila’s announcement was a “blatant violation of Palestinian rights, international law, and UN resolutions.”

Read more: The 1967 Six-Day War and its difficult legacy

  • City of Strife - Jerusalem Photo Gallery (Imago/Leemage)

    City of strife: Jerusalem’s complex history

    Jerusalem, the city of David

    According to the Old Testament, David, king of the two partial kingdoms of Judah and Israel, won Jerusalem from the Jebusites around 1000 BC. He moved his seat of government to Jerusalem, making it the capital and religious center of his kingdom. The Bible says David’s son Solomon built the first temple for Yahweh, the God of Israel. Jerusalem became the center of Judaism.

  • City of Strife: A history of Jerusalem in pictures (picture-alliance/Mary Evans Picture Library)

    City of strife: Jerusalem’s complex history

    Under Persian rule

    The Neo-Babylonian King Nebuchadnezzar II (3rd from the left) conquered Jerusalem in 597 and again in 586 BC, as the Bible says. He took King Jehoiakim (5th from the right) and the Jewish upper class into captivity, sent them to Babylon and destroyed the temple. After Persian king Cyrus the Great seized Babylon, he allowed the exiled Jews to return home to Jerusalem and to rebuild their temple.

  • City of Strife: A history of Jerusalem in pictures (Historical Picture Archive/COR)

    City of strife: Jerusalem’s complex history

    Under Roman and Byzantine rule

    The Roman Empire ruled Jerusalem from the year 63 AD. Resistance movements rapidly formed among the population, so that in 66 AD, the First Jewish–Roman War broke out. The war ended 4 years later, with a Roman victory and another destruction of the temple in Jerusalem. The Romans and Byzantines ruled Palestine for approximately 600 years.

  • City of Strife: A history of Jerusalem in pictures (Selva/Leemage)

    City of strife: Jerusalem’s complex history

    Conquest by the Arabs

    Over the course of the Islamic conquest of Greater Syria, Muslim armies also reached Palestine. By order of the Caliph Umar (in the picture), Jerusalem was besieged and captured in the year 637 AD. In the following era of Muslim rule, various, mutually hostile and religiously divided rulers presided over the city. Jerusalem was often besieged and changed hands several times.

  • City of Strife: A history of Jerusalem in pictures (picture-alliance/akg-images)

    City of strife: Jerusalem’s complex history

    The Crusades

    From 1070 AD onward, the Muslim Seljuk rulers increasingly threatened the Christian world. Pope Urban II called for the First Crusade, which took Jerusalem in 1099 AD. Over a period of 200 years a total of nine crusades set out to conquer the city as it changed hands between Muslim and Christian rule. In 1244 AD the crusaders finally lost control of the city and it once again became Muslim.

  • City of Strife: A history of Jerusalem in pictures (Gemeinfrei)

    City of strife: Jerusalem’s complex history

    The Ottomans and the British

    After the conquest of Egypt and Arabia by the Ottomans, Jerusalem became the seat of an Ottoman administrative district in 1535 AD. In its first decades of Ottoman rule, the city saw a clear revival. With a British victory over Ottoman troops in 1917 AD, Palestine fell under British rule. Jerusalem went to the British without a fight.

  • City of Strife: A history of Jerusalem in pictures (Gemeinfrei)

    City of strife: Jerusalem’s complex history

    The divided city

    After World War II, the British gave up their Palestinian Mandate. The UN voted for a division of the country in order to create a home for the survivors of the Holocaust. Some Arab states then went to war against Israel and conquered part of Jerusalem. Until 1967, the city was divided into an Israeli west and a Jordanian east.

  • Soldiers during Six-day war (picture alliance/AP/KEYSTONE/Government Press Office)

    City of strife: Jerusalem’s complex history

    East Jerusalem goes back to Israel

    In 1967, Israel waged the Six-Day War against Egypt, Jordan and Syria. Israel took control of the Sinai, the Gaza Strip, the West Bank, the Golan Heights and East Jerusalem. Israeli paratroopers gained access to the Old City and stood at the Wailing Wall for the first time since 1949. East Jerusalem is not officially annexed, but rather integrated into the administration.

  • City of Strife: A history of Jerusalem in pictures (Getty Images/AFP/A. Gharabli)

    City of strife: Jerusalem’s complex history

    Muslim pilgrimage to Israel

    Israel has not denied Muslims access to its holy places. The Temple Mount is under an autonomous Muslim administration; Muslims can enter, visit the Dome of the Rock and the adjacent Al-Aqsa mosque and pray there.

  • Old City in Jerusalem (picture-alliance/dpa/R. Jensen)

    City of strife: Jerusalem’s complex history

    Unresolved status

    Jerusalem remains to this day an obstacle to peace between Israel and Palestine. In 1980, Israel declared the whole city its “eternal and indivisible capital.” After Jordan gave up its claim to the West Bank and East Jerusalem in 1988, the state of Palestine was proclaimed. Palestine also declares, in theory, Jerusalem as its capital.

    Author: Ines Eisele


Historical tensions: East Jerusalem was captured by Israel from Jordan during the 1967 Six-Day War. In 1980, Israel effectively annexed the area and declared the entire city as its capital. This move was never recognized by most of the international community.

Challenging path to peace: Palestinians say countries shifting their embassies complicate any effort to forge a lasting peace. The United Nations has recommended that countries should not move their embassies to Jerusalem in the absence of a resolution between the Israeli and Palestinian people. 

Read more: US to recognize Golan Heights as Israeli territory Monday: Israeli FM

Infografik Karte The Six-Day War of 1967 and it's consequences EN

kw/amp (dpa, AP)

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