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Trump to Declare Jerusalem New Israeli Capital

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In a seismic shift of U.S. foreign policy, President Donald Trump told Israeli and Arab leaders on Tuesday the White House plans to recognize Jerusalem as the new capital of Israel, according to The New York Times, reported U.S. News.

The official announcement is expected Wednesday, two days after the deadline to decide whether to keep the U.S. Embassy in Tel Aviv.

In making the decision, Trump is bypassing warnings from Arab and European leaders over how the move could smash already fragile, ongoing peace efforts in the Mideast, and the potential it could trigger a fresh outbreak of violence in the region.

According to the Associated Press, the president called Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to tell him of his intention to relocate the embassy to Jerusalem. Palestine is seeking to claim Israeli-annexed East Jerusalem as its capital.

However, the move would not be immediate because of a lack of resources and facilities to house the embassy staff. Trump is expected to sign a security waiver authorizing the embassy to remain in Tel Aviv for an additional six months, The Times reported.

King Abdullah II of Jordan advised against the move, arguing "Jerusalem is the key to achieving peace and stability in the region and the world," according to a statement from the Jordanian royal palace in Amman.

The statement continued: "King Abdullah stressed that the adoption of this resolution will have serious implications for security and stability in the Middle East, and will undermine the efforts of the American administration to resume the peace process and fuel the feelings of Muslims and Christians."

French President Emmanuel Macron and Egyptian President Abdul Fattah al-Sisi also expressed concerns over the move in telephone conversations with Trump, according to Palestinian news agency WAFA.

A spokesman for the Palestine Liberation Organization said Trump's latest move gave shape to Palestinians' worst fears. Abbas called on world leaders to urge Trump not to declare Jerusalem, a holy city, which holds great religious significance to Jews, Christians and Muslims, the new capital.

He added they will "act quickly to protect Jerusalem and its Muslim and Christian holy places from the danger they will face as a result of such a move," WAFA reported.

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Jerusalem is inviolable for Muslims, and ignoring that would have serious consequences, said Turkey’s president on Tuesday over reports that U.S. President Donald Trump could decide to recognize the city as Israel's capital, reported Anadolu Agency (Turkey).

"Mr. Trump, Jerusalem is a red line for Muslims," Recep Tayyip Erdogan told a parliamentary group meeting of his ruling Justice and Development (AK) Party.

"We are imploring the U.S. once again. You cannot take this kind of step."

Erdogan also warned that if the U.S. does so, Turkey could cut off diplomatic ties with Israel.

"If you take this kind of step, we will convene an Islamic cooperation summit in Istanbul," he added.

The U.S. media has said Trump is considering relocating the American Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem and the formal recognition of the city as Israel’s capital.

Jerusalem remains at the core of the perennial Israel-Palestine conflict, as Palestinians want Israeli-occupied East Jerusalem as the capital of a future state.

On the campaign trail, Trump repeatedly promised to relocate the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem.

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