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US, Israel legislatures plan joint event to mark Jerusalem reunification: report

A general view taken on May 21, 2017, shows the Dome of Rock at the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound, a UNESCO heritage site, in the Old City of Jerusalem
AHMAD GHARABLI (AFP)
Event marking 50th anniversary of city's reunification could signal shift in US policy

The US Congress and Israeli parliament plan to commemorate the 50th anniversary of Jerusalem's reunification with an event next Tuesday to be broadcast live from the US and Israeli capitals, the Jerusalem Post reports.

Sources told the newspaper that US President Donald Trump or Vice President Mike Pence are to take part in the Washington, DC side of the event, while Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Yuli Edelstein, the speaker of Israel's parliament, will participate in Jerusalem.

The US officially considers the question of Israeli sovereignty over Jerusalem to be among the unsettled issues to be discussed in Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations, and an official event celebrating the city's unification in 1967 could lead to debate and speculation about a possible policy shift.

This month Trump became the first sitting US president to visit the Western Wall in Jerusalem in the eastern section of the city, which the Palestinians say should be their capital in an independent state.

During Trump's visit to Israel this month, the president also delivered a speech in which he described Jerusalem's "ancient and eternal" Jewish ties.

"Jerusalem is a sacred city," Trump said. "The ties of the Jewish people to this holy land are ancient and eternal. I make this promise to you: my administration will always stand with Israel."

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