Trump to Move U.S. Embassy in Israel to Jerusalem

Donald Trump has outlined his intention to relocate the U.S. embassy in Israel to Jerusalem, a plan that has met widespread condemnation from across the Middle East.

Mr Trump spoke to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, Egypt’s Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, Saudi Arabia’s King Salman and Jordan’s King Abdullah on Tuesday, to move the embassy from Tel Aviv, resulting in opposition from each country’s leader.

The leaders warned Mr Trump’s plan would undermine regional stability and prevent the opportunity for future peace.

“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,” the Palestinian president’s spokesperson Nabil Abu Rudeina said.

Mr Trump also talked to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who has long supported the move to Jerusalem.

The President is expected to make a public announcement on his decision to recognise Jerusalem as the capital of Israel on Wednesday.

“He’s going to continue having conversations with relevant stakeholders, but ultimately he’ll make what he things is the best decision for the United States,” White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said on Tuesday.

“The president, I would say, is pretty solid in his thinking at this point.”

He is also expected to sign a waiver delaying the embassy move for six months because of logistical challenges of moving U.S. personnel.

U.S. allies are agitated by the decision because of the potential to destabilise the region and goes against the international norms.

Analysts say the move could upset Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner’s efforts to renew peace talks, spark regional protests that could risk U.S. military and diplomatic personnel and could give militant groups and Iran a propaganda weapon.

Jordan, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Qatar have criticised the decision and has urged the government to reconsider.

Palestinian leaders have called for three “days of rage” in protest leading to the State Department issuing a travel warning about the West Bank and Jerusalem’s Old City, restricting personal travel by U.S. personnel and their families to those areas.

State Department security services have been prepared for unrest at overseas missions and the Pentagon has repositioned troops who usually protect embassies to be closer to countries where protests may break out.

Mr Trump has been increasingly worried about losing his political base and maintains that he must be seen as fulfilling campaign promises on Israel as part of an effort he has taken in the past few weeks to galvanise conservative support.

Previous U.S. presidents have promised to move the embassy and then set the decision aside because of regional concerns and Jerusalem’s contested status Israelis and Palestinians, who both call the holy city their capital.

The U.S. embassy must be moved to Jerusalem under the Jerusalem Embassy Act of 1995or the State Department faces losing half of its appropriated funds for the acquisition and maintenance of buildings overseas.

However, presidents can sign a waiver every six months to avoid these penalties on national security grounds.

Mr Trump’s political concerns are not likely to influence foreign allies that could be directly affected by any fallout.

Trukish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Tuesday that recognising Jerusalem would be a “red line for Turkey”and could lead to Ankara cutting diplomatic ties with Israel.

Egypt’s Sisi urged Trump to not take “decisions that shall undermine peace opportunities in the Middle East” while Qatar’s official news agency said the country “totally rejected any measure calling for the recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.”

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