Trump will instruct the State Department to begin the multi-year process
of moving the American embassy from Tel Aviv to the holy city, U.S.
officials said on Tuesday. It remains unclear, however, when he might
take that physical step, which is required by the U.S. law but has been
waived on national security grounds for more than two decades.
The officials said numerous logistical and security details, as well as
site determination and construction, will need to be finalized first.
Because of those issues, the embassy is not likely to move for at least
3 or 4 years, presuming there is no future change in the U.S. policy.
To that end, the officials said Trump will delay the embassy move by
signing a waiver, which is required by the U.S. law every six months. He
will continue to sign the waiver until preparations for the embassy move
has no land to claim ‘capital’
The Palestinian resistance movement of Hamas says Israel has "no land”
and naturally no right to designate "a capital” city. The announcement
came shortly before the United States President Donald Trump's expected
declaration of the recognition of al-Quds (Jerusalem) as Israel’s
Hamas Spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri tweeted the remark on Wednesday, shortly
after Trump reportedly "informed” Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas of
his intention to relocate the American embassy from Tel Aviv to al-Quds
Zuhri, the Hamas spokesman, added that such recognition "would harm
Israel” and ultimately bring it "regret.”
every red line
Elsewhere, on Tuesday, Hamas chief Ismail Haniyeh warned the United
States that the potential relocation of the U.S. embassy would cross
"every red line.”
In a statement addressed to world Muslim leaders, Haniya said, "Moving
the American embassy to Jerusalem is a dangerous escalation and provides
cover for the extremist government of [Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin]
Netanyahu to carry out its plan to Judaize the city of Jerusalem.”
In a separate statement, Hamas called for Palestinians to "make Friday a
day of rage against the occupation, rejecting moving the American
embassy to Jerusalem and recognizing it as the capital of the Zionist
entity.” It called on young people in the West Bank to rise up and
"respond to the American decision that targets our Jerusalem in every
call days of rage over U.S. al-Quds plan
The developments follow as protests have broken out in the Gaza Strip in
response to Trump's expected decision to recognize al-Quds (Jerusalem)
as Israel's capital, as Palestinian leaders called for three days of
rage against the move.
Hundreds of Palestinians took to the streets in Gaza City on Wednesday,
carrying banners denouncing Trump, hours ahead of his impending
declaration that would also see the U.S. embassy move from Tel Aviv to
The declaration, which is expected at 18:00 GMT on Wednesday, comes amid
global condemnation of the decision.
Elsewhere, in Lebanon's capital, Beirut, hundreds of demonstrators
gathered in the Palestinian refugee camp Bourj el-Barajneh to protest
Jerusalem remains at the core of the perennial Israel-Palestine conflict
as Palestinians want Israeli-occupied East Jerusalem as the capital of a
pictures set ablaze
People, meanwhile, rallied in the city of Bethlehem (Beit Lahm) in the
south of the Israeli occupied West Bank to protest the prospect, setting
fire to pictures of Trump and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
Abbas has also warned Trump of the "dangerous consequences of such a
Meanwhile, Netanyahu said Israeli forces had been placed on alert for a
potential escalation of the already-tense situation in the Palestinian
Hundreds of Israeli settlers reportedly traveled to the city of Nablus
in the northern West Bank to visit Joseph’s Tomb on Wednesday. Violent
confrontations were also reported around the site between Palestinian
youths and the Israeli forces, who fired sound bombs and teargas
canisters at the protesters.
Separately, Palestinian al-Aqsa television network said dozens of
Israeli forces had stormed the village of Yabod in the city of Jenin in
the northern West Bank, raiding houses and beating residents.
Palestinian Shehab News Agency cited American media outlets as reporting
that the U.S. had deployed Marines to its embassies in the region to
avoid incidents following the potential announcement.
Various world leaders have also raised concern about the controversial
Most recently, the United Nations (UN) envoy for the Middle East
negotiation process said on Wednesday that al-Quds’ future status had to
be negotiated between Israelis and Palestinians and warned of the
repercussions of any action over the city.
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has "consistently warned against
any unilateral action that would have the potential to undermine the
two-state solution”, his spokesman, Stephane Dujarric, told reporters in
"The [UN] secretary general has spoken many times on this issue... and
he has said that we all have to be very careful with the actions we take
because of the repercussions of these actions,” Nickolay Mladenov also
told a conference. "The future of Jerusalem is something that needs to
be negotiated with Israel, with the Palestinians, sitting side by side
directly in negotiations.”
The European Union warned of the "serious repercussions” of the
Federica Mogherini, the European Union's top diplomat, said "any action
that would undermine” peace efforts to create two separate states for
the Israelis and the Palestinians "must absolutely be avoided.”
Arab League chief Ahmed Aboul-Gheit warned the United States not to take
any measures that would change al-Quds current legal and political
Aboul-Gheit spoke on Tuesday during a meeting in Cairo of Arab League
representatives gathered to discuss Trump's recognition of Jerusalem as
Israel's capital. He said the possible U.S. decision is be a "dangerous
measure that would have repercussions” across the entire Mideast region.
He also urged the Trump administration to reconsider the issue.
the Palestinians request Arab League meeting
The regional Arab League grouping said Jordan and the Palestinians had
requested an emergency meeting of the body’s foreign ministers to
discuss the U.S. scheme.
The meeting is likely to be convened on Saturday, a diplomatic source
"President Abbas warned of the dangerous consequences such a decision
would have to the peace process and to the peace, security and stability
of the region and of the world,” Nabil Abu Rudeina, the Palestinian
president's spokesperson, said in a statement after Trump's call.
Echoing Abbas' comments, Jordan's King Abdullah II told Trump that such
a decision would have "dangerous repercussions on the stability and
security of the region”, according to a statement released by the
The king also warned the U.S. president of the risks of any decision
that ran counter to a final settlement of the Arab-Israeli conflict
based on the creation of an independent Palestinian state with its
capital in East Jerusalem.
"Jerusalem is the key to achieving peace and stability in the region and
the world,” the statement said, adding that an embassy move would
inflame Muslim and Christian feelings.
King Abdullah also called Abbas and said they had to both work together
to "confront the consequences of this decision”.
Jordan had also said earlier that it planned to convene an emergency
meeting of the OIC on how to face the "dangerous” consequences of
The state of Jordan has been the custodian of all Muslim and Christian
sites in al-Quds (Jerusalem) since 1994.
Resistance groups in Gaza called on the Palestinian Liberation
Organization to withdraw its recognition of Israel in response to
Trump's expected move.
"At a time when the city of Jerusalem is subjected to systematic
Judaization and our people are exposed to the suffering from repression,
displacement and exile comes the American decision to declare the city
of Jerusalem as the capital of [Israel] in violation of all
international conventions and norms,” the factions said in a statement.
Iranian Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said the U.S. move was "because of
their incompetence and failure”.
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has also warned the U.S. against
relocating its Israel embassy from Tel Aviv to al-Quds (Jerusalem),
saying the "illegal” move would further destabilize Palestine and the
During a phone conversation with his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip
Erdogan on Wednesday, Rouhani called on Islamic states to join hands in
opposing the "dangerous” move by the administration of Trump.
In the harshest reaction so far, Turkey threatened to cut ties with
Israel if the U.S. carried out the recognition.
Later, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan called a summit of the
Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) in Istanbul on December 13 to
discuss the U.S. plan.
Erdogan called for the meeting "in order to display joint action among
Islamic countries,” presidential Spokesman Ibrahim Kalin told reporters
in the Turkish capital.
"Jerusalem is a red line for Muslims,” said Erdogan. "We implore the
U.S. once again: You cannot take this step.”
Ankara currently holds the chairmanship of the OIC.
The Kremlin said Russia was concerned that the conflict between Israel
and the Palestinian authorities could be aggravated further by the
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov added however that "we would not discuss
decisions that have not been taken yet.”
China warned that Trump’s plan could fuel tensions in the region.
"We are concerned about the possible escalation of tensions,” Foreign
Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang told a regular news briefing. "All
relevant parties should bear regional peace and tranquility in mind, be
cautious in words and deeds, avoid impacting the foundation for the
settlement of the issue of Palestine, and avoid causing new
confrontation in the region.”
Hours ahead of Trump's expected announcement, British Prime Minister
Theresa May said she intended to speak to the U.S. president about the
status of al-Quds (Jerusalem), adding that the fate of the city should
be determined through negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians.
"Jerusalem should ultimately form a shared capital between the Israeli
and Palestinian states," said May.
May told parliament on Wednesday she planned to "speak to President
Trump about this matter,” but she declined to criticize his plan.
British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson said he was concerned about
reports that Trump would recognize al-Quds (Jerusalem) as Israel’s
"Let’s wait and see what the president says exactly. But, you know, we
view the reports that we have heard with concern because we think that
Jerusalem obviously should be part of the final settlement between the
Israelis and the Palestinians,” he told reporters in Brussels.
Key national security advisers — including Secretary of State Rex
Tillerson and Defense Secretary Jim Mattis — have urged caution,
according to the officials, who said Trump has been receptive to some of
However, some U.S. officials said that Trump "remains committed to
achieving a lasting peace agreement between the Israelis and
Palestinians and is optimistic that peace can be achieved”.
One official said that Trump's decision "doesn't change the status quo
with respect to the holy sites and other sensitive issues”.
Germany’s foreign minister warned that any U.S. move toward such
recognition would be dangerous and could deepen the Middle East
Sigmar Gabriel said such a move "does not calm a conflict, rather it
fuels it even more” and "would be a very dangerous development.”
Gabriel told reporters at NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization)
headquarters in Brussels that, "It’s in everyone’s interest that this
does not happen.”
French President Emmanuel Macron also said he was concerned about the
potential relocation during a phone call with Trump.
Pope Francis called for al-Quds’ "status quo” to be respected.
The pontiff expressed his hope for "peace and prosperity” for the
Palestinian people during a scheduled meeting with a Palestinian
delegation of religious and intellectual leaders.
In a statement, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi also cautioned
Trump against "taking measures that would undermine the chances of peace
in the Middle East”.
"The Egyptian president affirmed the Egyptian position on preserving the
legal status of Jerusalem within the framework of international
references and relevant UN resolutions,” the statement said.
Following a separate phone conversation with Trump, the House of Saud
regime King Salman also told the U.S. president "that any American
announcement regarding the situation of Jerusalem prior to reaching a
permanent settlement will harm peace talks and increase tensions in the
A statement by state-run news agency SPA quoted the king as saying that
the kingdom supported the Palestinian people and their historic rights
and asserted that "such a dangerous step is likely to inflame the
passions of Muslims around the world due to the great status of
Jerusalem and the al-Aqsa mosque”.
The Syrian foreign ministry said: "[The move] is the culmination of the
crime of usurping Palestine and displacing the Palestinian people.”
move to please friends
Moving the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv to al-Quds (Jerusalem), and
recognizing the holy city as Israel's capital, was a promise Trump made
during his election campaign last year.
Wednesday's announcement will thrill key financial donors like Las Vegas
casino magnate Sheldon Adelson, who reportedly gave $25m to groups
backing Trump ahead of the 2016 election. In April, the Politico news
website reported that Sheldon had expressed anger at Trump over his
failure to fulfill the al-Quds (Jerusalem) pledge.
The shift is likely to boost Trump's popularity with his core,
right-wing evangelical base.
The measure has broad support among American lawmakers too. The al-Quds
(Jerusalem) Embassy Act, passed by the U.S. Congress in 1995, calls for
the U.S. embassy to be moved to Jerusalem.
Trump's predecessors, however, have repeatedly invoked an inbuilt waiver
every six months, citing security concerns.
In June, Trump also delayed the relocation, while instructing his
son-in-law Jared Kushner to begin an effort at restarting long-stalled
peace talks between the Palestinians and Israelis.
This week, the six-month deadline passed without Trump renewing the
behind the curtain deal
Meanwhile, The New York Times on Sunday reported that the U.S. and the
House of Saud regime are backing a peace plan that gives Israel
full-control over Jerusalem.
Citing unnamed Palestinian, Arab and European sources, the newspaper
said Saudi regime Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS), who is very
close to Kushner, presented the plan to Palestinian President Mahmoud
Abbas in November.
Both the U.S. and the Saudi regime denied the report.
Al-Quds (Jerusalem) includes the holiest ground in Judaism. But it's
also home to Islam's third-holiest shrine and major Christian sites, and
forms the combustible center of the Israeli-Arab conflict. Any perceived
harm to Muslim claims to the city has triggered volatile protests in the
past, both in the Holy Land and across the Muslim world.
After occupying the city's eastern part in the 1967 War, Israel annexed
the territory, and proclaimed it as its "eternal, undivided capital.”
The Palestinians, however, see East al-Quds (Jerusalem) as the capital
of their future state.