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Donald Trump has told Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas that he intends to move the US embassy in Israel to Jerusalem, according to a spokesman.

The embassy is currently in Tel Aviv, and moving it to Jerusalem would be highly significant.

It would end decades of US policy that the city’s status must be decided in negotiations with the Palestinians, and give legitimacy to Israel’s claim over the entire city.

Palestinians want East Jerusalem to be the capital of their future state and the international community does not recognise Israel’s claim.

The city is home to sites that are holy to Muslims, Jews and Christians.

Israel captured East Jerusalem in 1967 and annexed it, but the move was not recognised internationally.

:: Why does Donald Trump want to move the US embassy in Israel?

Donald Trump at the Western Wall in Jerusalem

Image: Donald Trump pictured during a visit to the Western Wall in Jerusalem

A statement from Mr Abbas’s office said Mr Trump had called the president and told him of “his intention to move the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem”.

Mr Abbas “warned of the dangerous consequences of such a decision on the peace process, security and stability in the region and the world”, the statement added.

World leaders have warned such a move would inflame tensions in the region, while Hamas said it would cross “every red line”.

Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi spoke to Mr Trump and told him there was no need to “complicate” matters in the region, a statement from Cairo said.

France’s President Macron also reminded the US President that the future of Jerusalem should be determined in negotiations on setting up a Palestinian state.

The US Embassy in Tel Aviv

Image: The US Embassy is currently in Tel Aviv

Germany’s foreign minister, Sigmar Gabriel, told reporters it would fuel “even more” the delicate situation in the Middle East.

Saudi Arabia’s King Salman also spoke to Mr Trump and warned him it would “inflame the passions of Muslims around the world due to the great status of Jerusalem and the al Aqsa mosque…”, state television reported.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said he opposed any unilateral action that could undermine a two-state solution.

However, Israel’s mayor of Jerusalem, Nir Barkat, said on Tuesday that moving the embassy could take “two minutes”.

“They just take the symbol of the consulate and switch it to the embassy symbol – two American Marines can do it in two minutes, and give the ambassador David Friedman a space to sit in,” Mr Barkat told Israel Radio.

Israel says the city has been the capital of the Jewish people for 3,000 years and the country’s capital for 70 years.

Senior US officials said President Trump could officially recognise Jerusalem as the capital on Wednesday.

They said the embassy’s relocation would probably not happen for around six months, but planning would begin straight away.

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White House spokesman Hogan Gidley said on Monday that the President had “been clear on this issue from the get-go: it’s not a matter of if, it’s a matter of when”.

Following a call for protests from Palestinian officials, the US has ordered government employees to avoid Jerusalem’s Old City and the West Bank.

World News – Breaking international news and headlines | Sky News

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