World prepares for expected US move to recognise Jerusalem as Israel's capital

US President Donald Trump is expected to announce later today the official recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel

East Jerusalem was annexed by Israel during the 1967 war. Photo: File 

BEIJING: With US President Donald Trump expected to announce at 11pm PST today the recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital, the world is preparing for the potential negative fallout of the move. 

China warned on Wednesday that Trump's plan to recognise Jerusalem 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."

A senior Trump administration official has said the president would make the announcement from the White House, upending decades of careful US policy and ignoring dire warnings of a historic misstep that could trigger a surge of violence in the Middle East.

The official, speaking on condition of anonymity, also said Trump would order officials to begin planning to move the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

Pope defends status quo 

Pope Francis defended the "status quo" in Jerusalem, hours ahead of an announcement by US President Donald Trump in which officials said he will recognise the disputed city as Israel's capital.

"I cannot silence my deep concern over the situation that has emerged in recent days. At the same time, I appeal strongly for all to respect the city's status quo, in accordance with the relevant UN resolutions," the pope said in his weekly address.

Violent clashes cannot be ruled out: Germany

Germany is concerned that violent clashes could erupt in the Middle East following the decision, the German Foreign Ministry said on Wednesday.

In an update of its travel advice for Israel and the Palestinian territories, the ministry in Berlin said: “From December 6, 2017, there may be demonstrations in Jerusalem, the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. Violent clashes can not be ruled out.”

The ministry advised German travellers in Jerusalem to closely monitor the situation via local media and avoid the affected areas.

Should wait and see what Trump says: UK 

British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson said on Wednesday that he was concerned about the reports.

“Lets 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.

US intention sign of its incompetence, failure: Iran 

The US intention to move its embassy to Jerusalem is a sign of its incompetence and failure, Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said Wednesday, according to his official website.

“That they claim they want to announce Quds as the capital of occupied Palestine is because of their incompetence and failure,” Khamenei said, using the Arabic name for Jerusalem.

“On the issue of Palestine (US) hands are tied and they cannot advance their goals,” Khamenei said.

He said Palestine would be “freed” and Palestinian people will be victorious.

He said the United States wanted to start a war in the region to protect the security of Israel.

“American government officials have said themselves that we have to start a war in the region to protect the security of the Zionist regime,” Khamenei said.

Meanwhile, condemning the decision, the Syrian government said, “(The move) is the culmination of the crime of usurping Palestine and displacing the Palestinian people,” Syrian state news agency SANA said, quoting a foreign ministry official.

Israel-Palestinian conflict could aggravate: Russia 

The Kremlin said on Wednesday that Russia was concerned that the conflict between Israel and the Palestinian authorities could be aggravated further by Trump’s plans to move the US Embassy.

“However, we would not discuss the decisions which have not been taken yet,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told a conference call with reporters.