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Jerusalem's Old City is seen through a door with the shape of star of David. Photo: Oded Balilty / AP

President Trump's expected recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital has caused worldwide criticism warning the change could halt the peace process and damage relations across the Middle East. Israeli security forces are preparing for any possible response in the region.

Why it matters: President Trump is in the midst of phone calls to leaders in the Middle East regarding the anticipated announcement. Trump called Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas, PM Netanyahu and King of Jordan Abdullah. Minutes before the phone call with Trump, Abbas spoke on the phone with French president Emanuel Macron who lobbied Trump yesterday against any unilateral recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.

What they're saying:

  • German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel: "U.S. recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel will be counterproductive & will only worsen the crisis. A solution to the issue of Jerusalem should be achieved through negotiations," per Barak Ravid of Israel's Channel 10 News and an Axios contributor.
  • Arab League chief Abul Gheit: Such a move would "nourish fanaticism and violence."
  • Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Bekir Bozdag: It would be a "major catastrophe" that would "completely destroy the fragile peace process" and lead to new conflicts.
  • Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has reportedly contacted other world leaders and urged them to intervene. "Such a US decision would destroy the peace process and drag the region into further instability," he said. Abbas' diplomatic adviser also said Palestinian leadership would "stop contacts" with the U.S. if Trump moves forward.
  • Saudi Arabian Foreign Ministry: The move is "in contradiction of the principle of not affecting final status negotiations, and contradicts international resolutions that emphasize the historical and firm rights of the Palestinian People regarding Jerusalem, which cannot be changed, nor can an attempt to impose a new reality upon it be made. This step, if taken, will constitute a fundamental change, and an unwarranted shift in the United States' impartial position, at a time when the world looks to the United States of America to work on achieving achieving the desired progress in the peace process."
  • EU's Frederica Mogherini: "Any action that would undermine [a two-state solution between Israel, Palestinians] must be avoided."
  • Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan: U.S. recognition is a 'red line' for Muslims, and such a step would lead Ankara to cut off all diplomatic ties with Israel.
  • Israeli officials: "Jerusalem is the capital of the Jewish people for 3000 years and the capital of Israel for 70 years whether Erdogan likes it or not," per Ravid.
  • Israeli Education Minister Naftali Bennett: "At the end of the day it is better to have a united Jerusalem than Erdogan's sympathy."

Why it's happening now per Eurasia Group's Alex Kliment:

  • Trump is under fire at home and Republicans – particularly Evangelical Christians – have always sought this move.
  • Israel's PM Benjamin Netanyahu is also in domestic trouble, facing serious corruption allegations that have sparked protests in recent weeks. US recognition of Jerusalem as the capital plays well with his base.
  • Elsewhere in the region, Sunni Arab officials have warned that this move will provoke violence and regional instability, but our guess is that when it comes down to it the key Sunni Arab powers in Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and the UAE care more about countering Iran – with a vigorously anti-Tehran U.S. President – than they do about Palestinian aspirations.

Go deeper

House Judiciary Committee advances reparations bill in historic vote

Sheila Jackson Lee. Photo: Al Drago/Getty Images

The House Judiciary Committee voted 25 to 17 Wednesday to advance a bill that would create a commission to study reparations for Black Americans who are the descendants of slaves.

Why it matters: "No such bill has ever come this far during Congressional history of the United States," said Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Texas), who sponsored the bill, per the Washington Post.

Updated 3 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Officer Kim Potter arrested, charged with manslaughter in Daunte Wright's death

Kim Potter's booking photos. Photo: Hennepin County Sheriff's Office

Kim Potter, the former police officer charged with second-degree manslaughter in the fatal shooting of Daunte Wright, was released on a $100,000 bond on Wednesday, Hennepin County jail records show.

Why it matters: Sunday's shooting of the 20-year-old Black man in Brooklyn Center, Minnesota, just 10 miles from where George Floyd was killed by a Minneapolis police officer last year, has reinvigorated Black Lives Matter protests and led to three consecutive nights of unrest.

Updated 3 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Biden names Erika Moritsugu as senior AAPI liaison

Erika Moritsugu. Photo courtesy: National Partnership for Women & Families

President Biden has named Erika Moritsugu as deputy assistant to the president and Asian American and Pacific Islander senior liaison, the White House announced Wednesday.

Driving the news: The decision follows weeks of pressure from AAPI leaders to include more Asian American representation at the Cabinet level and in senior administration roles.