Arabs and Muslims across the Middle East on Wednesday condemned the US recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital as an incendiary move in a volatile region and Palestinians said Washington was ditching its leading role as a peace mediator. He additionally threatened to cut Turkey's diplomatic ties with Israel. "Acknowledging this as a fact is a necessary condition for achieving peace".
The declaration - met by fierce regional condemnation - ends seven decades of deliberate diplomatic ambiguity about the final status of a holy city vociferously claimed by both Israelis and Palestinians. Palestinian officials have reacted with anger, and Trump's plans have triggered bleak warnings from Middle Eastern nations that say the move would be detrimental to peace and the region's stability.
A senior administration official said Trump would make the announcement - ignoring frantic warnings from US allies in the region and around the world - at 1:00 pm (1800 GMT) from the White House.
"We condemn the irresponsible statement of the US administration. the decision is against international law and relevant UN resolutions", Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu tweeted.
It's part of a shift in American policy, acknowledging Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. "I think it's long overdue".
Israel deems Jerusalem its eternal and indivisible capital dating to antiquity, and its status is one of the thorniest barriers to an elusive Israeli-Palestinian peace. The harshest language came from Turkey's Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavusoglu, who before stepping into a bilateral meeting with Tillerson, called the impending decision a "grave mistake".
"I cannot silence my deep concern over the situation that has emerged in recent days", the pontiff said Wednesday. "We expect the international community to accept Trump's decision".
On the same day, Trump told the leader of the Palestinian Authority during a phone call that he intends to move the US Embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.
Anticipating protests, US government officials and their families have been ordered to avoid Jerusalem's Old City and the West Bank.
China warned it could fuel tensions in the region and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said "Muslims must stand united against this major plot".
Trump's move comes close to fulfilling a campaign promise, and will delight his political donors and the conservative and evangelical base so vital for the embattled president.
Foreign Ministry spokesperson Geng Shuang made the remarks when asked to comment on U.S. intention to recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital.
The White House argues that such a move would not prejudge final talks and would represent the reality that west Jerusalem is and will continue to be part of Israel under any settlement. "Mr Trump, Jerusalem is the red line of Muslims", President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Tuesday.
Jerusalem is a city that is sacred to three of the great monotheistic faiths: Judaism, Christianity and Islam, and each has sites of great religious significance there.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu hailed Trump's recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital on as "historic" and a "courageous and just decision". "If agreed to by the two parties". "They have all selected where they want to place their capital city, except for Israel", Stern added.
But politicians across the Middle East and Europe expressed their opposition, led by Palestinian officials.
Trump was pushed to act on the embassy as a result of the 1995 Jerusalem Embassy Act, which stated that the city "should be recognized as the capital of the State of Israel" and that the US embassy should be moved there.
A waiver has been invoked by successive US presidents, postponing the move on grounds of "national security" once every six months, meaning the law has never taken effect.