Palestinian protesters burn images of Trump and the U.S. flag ahead of his controversial promise to officially recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel
- Palestinian Christians burned pictures of President Donald Trump in the city of Bethlehem
- They are some of many protesting Trump's anticipated recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital?
- Trump forged with his plans despite Arab, Muslim and European opposition to his decision
- US President will make the announcement at 1pm (6pm GMT) from the White House on Wednesday
- Trump also told the leaders of the Palestinian Authority and Jordan in phone calls that he intends to move the US Embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem
Protesters across Palestine have been burning U.S. flags and images of President Donald Trump ahead of his speech later today where he is expected to recognise Jerusalem as Israel's capital.
Hundreds gathered in Gaza City and Ramallah on the West Bank brandishing Palestine flags and placards protesting the anticipated announcement.
Last night, Palestinian Christians gathered in Bethlehem and burned placards featuring Trump's likeness and 'Jerusalem, Palestine's heart, is not up to negotiations,' written on them.
A senior administration official said President Trump will make the announcement at 1pm (6pm GMT) from the White House.
Anger: Palestinian protesters burn the US and Israeli flags in Gaza City as President Donald Trump is set to recognise Jerusalem as Israel's capital, upending decades of careful US policy and ignoring dire warnings from Arab and Western allies alike of a historic misstep that could trigger a surge of violence in the Middle East
On fire: Palestinian Christians in Bethlehem, the birthplace of Jesus, burned pictures of President Donald Trump on Tuesday to protest his anticipated recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital
Upheaval: Women wave Palestinian flags and chant slogans during a protest at the Unknown Soldier Square, in Gaza City
'He will say that the United States government recognises that Jerusalem is the capital of Israel,' a senior administration official said, speaking on condition of anonymity.
'He views this as a recognition of reality, both historic reality and modern reality.'
Plunging further into a decades-long dispute over a city considered holy by Jews, Muslims and Christians, Trump will also order planning to move the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.
'It will take some time to find a site, to address security concerns, design a new facility, fund a new facility and build it,' the official said. 'It will be a matter of some years, it won't be months, it's going to take time.'?
Trump will forge ahead with his plans despite intense Arab, Muslim and European opposition to a move that would upend decades of US policy and risk potentially violent protests.?
Raised voices: A child holds a Palestinian flag as he chants slogans during a sit-in in the Bourj al-Barajneh Palestinian refugee camp, in Beirut, Lebanon
A man holds torn representations of American and Israeli flags during a protest at the Unknown Soldier Square in Gaza City
Taking a stand: Children hold Palestinian flags and drawing of late leader Yasser Arafat during a protest in the west Bank city of Ramallah on Wednesday
alestinian children hold Palestine flags and pictures of Jerusalem during a protest in Gaza city after President Donald Trump said the US will recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capitalProtest over Jerusalem recognised as Israel's capital
Aggression: Trump is expected to make the announcement despite warnings from world leaders from Europe, the Middle-East, Asia and Africa
Today, the Palestinian prime minister said Trump's recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital is bound to 'destroy the peace process and the two-state solution.'
Rami Hamdallah, who met with European diplomats on Wednesday to discuss a two-state solution ?said that the expected U.S. shift on Jerusalem 'will fuel conflict and increase violence in the entire region.'?
Several other senior Palestinian officials have also said Trumps announcement this evening will revert any progress towards peace between the two countries.
'There is no way that there can be talks with the Americans. The peace process is finished. They have already pre-empted the outcome,' said Palestinian official Hanan Ashrawi. 'They cannot take us for granted.'
The mere consideration of Trump changing the status quo sparked a renewed US security warning on Tuesday.
America's consulate in Jerusalem ordered US personnel and their families to avoid visiting Jerusalem's Old City or the West Bank, and urged American citizens in general to avoid places with increased police or military presence.
Further warnings from world leaders came on Wednesday, incuding from Pope Francis, British foreign minister Boris Johnson and China.
'I cannot silence my deep concern over the situation that has emerged in recent days. Jerusalem is a unique city, sacred for Jews, Christians and Muslims,' Pope Francis said today.?
A small group of Palestinians in the holy city on the West Bank gathered with placards featuring Trump's likeness and set fire to them
'Move the embassy to your country, not ours,' read one of the placards with Trump's picture on it
'Jerusalem, Palestine's heart, is not up to negotiations, read another anti-Trump sign
The pontiff added that maintaining Jerusalem's status quo was important 'in order to avoid adding new elements of tension to an already volatile world that is wracked by so many cruel conflicts'.
Boris Johnson, speaking as he arrived for a NATO meeting in Brussels, said '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, a negotiated settlement.'
China has also warned the plan could fuel tensions in the region and Turkey said it risked igniting a 'fire' in the Middle East.
Geng Shuang, a spokesman of the Chinese Foreign Ministry, said on Wednesday?the 'issue of Jerusalem's status is complicated and sensitive' and that 'all sides should focus on regional peace and tranquility, act with caution, and avoid sabotaging the foundation for the settlement of Palestinian issues and triggering new confrontation in the region.'
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's spokesman said he had called for a summit of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), the main pan-Islamic body, in Istanbul on December 13 'to display joint action among Islamic countries' over Jerusalem.
Jordan and the Palestinians also called for an emergency meeting of the Arab League in Cairo, with a diplomatic source saying it was likely to be convened on Saturday.??
The Kremlin has also voiced concern, with?President Vladimir Putin's spokesman Dmitry Peskov saying that the 'the situation is not easy.'
He said Putin discussed the issue with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas late on Tuesday and expressed his concern about 'a possible deterioration.'?
The move of the US embassy to Jerusalem was a frequently repeated promise that Trump made during his presidential election campaign.?
However, US leaders have routinely and unceremoniously delayed such a move since President Bill Clinton signed a law in 1995 stipulating that the United States must relocate its diplomatic presence to Jerusalem unless the commander in chief issues a waiver on national security grounds.
Trump is likely to do the same, US officials said, though less quietly.?
That's why he plans to couple the waiver with the declaration of Jerusalem as Israel's capital, according to the officials who weren't authorized to speak publicly on the matter and demanded anonymity.?
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 their concerns.
Trump (seen above with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in Bethlehem on May 23) forged ahead Tuesday with plans to recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital despite intense Arab, Muslim and European opposition to a move that would upend decades of US policy and risk potentially violent protests
Trump also told the leaders of the Palestinian Authority and Jordan that he intends to move the US Embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. Jerusalem is home to sites considered sacred by Judaism, Islam, and Christianity. The Dome of the Rock and the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound are seen above on Tuesday
An elderly Palestinian man walks past a street sign indicating the distance to Jerusalem on December 5, 2017, in Hebron in the Israeli-occupied West Bank
The concerns are real: Trump's recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital could be viewed as America discarding its longstanding neutrality and siding with Israel at a time that the president's son-in-law, Jared Kushner, has been trying to midwife a new peace process into existence.?
Trump, too, has spoken of his desire for a 'deal of the century' that would end Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
US officials, along with an outside adviser to the administration, said they expected a broad statement from Trump about Jerusalem's status as the 'capital of Israel.'?
The president isn't planning to use the phrase 'undivided capital,' according to the officials.?
Such terminology is favored by Israeli officials including Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and would imply Israel's sovereignty over east Jerusalem, which the Palestinians seek for their own future capital.
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.
Within the Trump administration, officials on Tuesday were still debating the particulars of the president's expected speech as they fielded a flood of warnings from allied governments. The US Embassy is seen above in Tel Aviv on Tuesday
A T-shirt bearing an image of US President Donald Trump dressed as a Hasidic Jew is displayed in a souvenir shop in Jerusalem's Old City on Monday
Still, any US declaration on Jerusalem's status ahead of a peace deal 'would harm peace negotiation process and escalate tension in the region,' Saudi Arabia's King Salman told Trump Tuesday, according to a Saudi readout of their telephone conversation.?
Declaring Jerusalem as Israel's capital, the king said, 'would constitute a flagrant provocation to all Muslims, all over the world.'
In his calls to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Jordan's King Abdullah II, Trump delivered what appeared to be identical messages of intent.?
Both leaders warned Trump that moving the embassy would threaten Mideast peace efforts and security and stability in the Middle East and the world, according to statements from their offices.?
The statements didn't speak to Trump's plans for recognizing Jerusalem as Israel's capital.
Ahmed Aboul-Gheit, the head of the Arab League, urged the US to reconsider any recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital, warning of 'repercussions.'??
French President Emmanuel Macron said he reminded Trump in a phone call Monday that Jerusalem should be determined through negotiations on setting up an independent Palestine alongside Israel.?
Meeting US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson in Brussels, EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini said actions undermining peace efforts 'must be absolutely avoided.'
Palestinian political factions led by Abbas' Fatah movement called for daily protest marches this week, starting Wednesday.?
East Jerusalem, now home to more than 300,000 Palestinians, was captured by Israel in 1967 and then annexed in a move most of the international community has not recognized.
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