The Latest: Trump to declare Jerusalem as Israeli capital

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JERUSALEM (AP) - The Latest on a possible U.S. decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital (all times local):

4 a.m.

U.S. officials say President Donald Trump will recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital Wednesday and instruct the State Department to begin the multi-year process of moving the American embassy from Tel Aviv to the holy city.

The officials say recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital will be an acknowledgement of "historical and current reality" rather than a political statement. They note that almost all of Israel's government agencies and parliament are in Jerusalem, rather than Tel Aviv, where the U.S. and other countries maintain embassies.

The officials say moving the embassy, long a campaign pledge that Trump has insisted he must fulfill, will not happen immediately.

The officials spoke to reporters on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to publicly discuss Trump's announcement beforehand.

- AP Diplomatic Writer Matthew Lee

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10:35 p.m.

The White House says President Donald Trump will deliver remarks Wednesday outlining his decision on a potential move of the U.S. Embassy in Israel.

White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders says the president is "pretty solid" in his thinking on the plan but won't say what Trump will announce. Sanders says the president will make the "best decision for the United States."

U.S. officials have said Trump may recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital, a move that could inflame tensions across the Middle East but offset a likely decision delaying his campaign promise to move the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

Trump has been speaking Tuesday to Middle East leaders about the decision.

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9:30 p.m.

The U.S. Consulate in Jerusalem has ordered its personnel and their families not to conduct personal travel to Jerusalem's Old City or the West Bank due to fears of unrest over an expected U.S. announcement.

Palestinian groups have threatened widespread protests if President Donald Trump recognizes contested Jerusalem as Israel's capital or advances plans to move the U.S. Embassy there from Tel Aviv. Trump is expected to announce his decision Wednesday.

In a statement issued late Tuesday, the Consulate said U.S. government employees could still travel to the Old City and West Bank for "essential" business, but only with additional security.

The warning also urged American citizens to avoid large crowds or areas with increased police or military presence.

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9:15 p.m.

Hamas says relocating the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem "breaks red lines."

Ismail Haniyeh, the leader of the Palestinian Islamic militant group, said Tuesday that any decision by the Trump administration to recognize the city as Israel's capital would be "igniting the spark of rage against the occupation."

President Donald Trump has informed Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas he intends to move the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. No timetable was given.

Trump is expected to make an announcement on Jerusalem Wednesday.

Palestinian factions have called for mass protests against such a move.

Israel captured east Jerusalem, home to sites sacred to Jews, Muslims and Christians, in the 1967 war and considers the entire city its capital. Palestinians claim east Jerusalem as the capital of their future state.

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8:30 p.m.

The U.N. says Secretary-General Antonio Guterres opposes any unilateral action on Jerusalem that could undermine a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

U.N. spokesman Stephane Dujarric told reporters at U.N. headquarters in New York on Tuesday that "we've always regarded Jerusalem as a final status issue that must be resolved through direct negotiations by the two parties based on relevant Security Council resolutions."

Dujarric said the United Nations is waiting to see an official announcement from President Donald Trump on whether he intends to move the U.S. Embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, a move Israel strongly supports and the Palestinians vehemently oppose.

Arab and Muslim countries have warned that such an announcement, or a U.S. declaration that Jerusalem is the capital of Israel, could harm fragile Mideast peace efforts.

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8:15 p.m.

The Palestinians have rejected a possible move of the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem and warned it would have serious implications for American-led peace efforts.

Nabil Abu Rdeneh, spokesman for President Mahmoud Abbas, said Tuesday that moving the embassy would be "unacceptable" to the Palestinians.

He says: "If this happens, it will complicate things. It will put an obstacle to the peace process. Maybe it will be the end of the peace process." He urged the U.S. to "backtrack" if it wants to push forward with peace efforts.

Abu Rdeneh spoke to reporters shortly after President Donald Trump called Abbas to discuss his "intention" to move the embassy. It remains unclear when such a move would take place.

The official Wafa news agency said Abbas called Russian President Vladimir Putin in hopes of rallying opposition to the expected move.

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7:45 p.m.

Egypt's President Abdel Fatah el-Sissi is urging the United States not to take measures that could change Jerusalem's status, as the Trump administration considers recognizing the contested city as Israel's capital.

Egypt's presidency says in a statement Tuesday that el-Sissi spoke to President Donald Trump by phone about the administration's plans, and urged the U.S. leader to avoid any actions that would undermine Middle East peace efforts.

U.S. officials have said Trump may recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital, a highly charged declaration that risks inflaming tensions across the Middle East but would be a way to offset a likely decision delaying his campaign promise to move the U.S. Embassy there from Tel Aviv.

Egypt is one of only two Arab countries to have made peace with Israel.

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6:30 p.m.

Egypt has warned of "possible dangerous repercussions" if U.S. President Donald Trump follows through on plans to recognize contested Jerusalem as Israel's capital.

Egypt's Foreign Ministry said Tuesday that Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry had discussed the matter with his French counterpart. It said they called on the Trump administration to wait and reconsider.

French President Emmanuel Macron earlier said he reminded Trump in a phone call that the fate of Jerusalem should be determined in negotiations on setting up a Palestinian state alongside Israel.

Macron said he expressed concern about any possible unilateral U.S. moves and that he agreed with Trump "to speak again shortly on this subject."

U.S. officials have said Trump may recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital, a highly charged declaration that risks inflaming tensions across the Middle East but would be a way to offset a likely decision delaying his campaign promise to move the U.S. Embassy there from Tel Aviv.

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6:15 p.m.

Germany's foreign minister is warning that any U.S. move to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel would be dangerous and could deepen the Middle East conflict.

Sigmar Gabriel said Tuesday that "recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel does not calm a conflict, rather it fuels it even more," and that such a move "would be a very dangerous development."

Gabriel told reporters at NATO headquarters in Brussels that "it's in everyone's interest that this does not happen."

U.S. officials have said a possible recognition might come this week, prompting mounting Arab and Muslim criticism.

Gabriel said Germany and its European Union partners continue to support a two-state solution between Israel and the Palestinians.

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6 p.m.

The official Palestinian news agency says President Donald Trump informed Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas of his plans to move the U.S. Embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to contested Jerusalem.

The WAFA agency says Trump informed Abbas of his decision in a phone call Tuesday.

Abbas spokesman Nabil Abu Rdeneh says Abbas warned Trump of the dangers of such a decision to Mideast peace efforts as well as security and stability in the region and the world.

The statement did not say if Trump told Abbas when he plans to move the embassy.

The Palestinians seek east Jerusalem as the capital of a future state, and have warned they would halt contacts with Washington if Trump makes unilateral decisions about the status of the city.

Jerusalem, home to key Muslim, Christian and Jewish shrines, is the combustible centerpiece of the Arab-Israeli conflict.

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5:45 p.m.

President Donald Trump plans to speak Tuesday with the leaders of Israel, Jordan and the Palestinian Authority as he deliberates over whether to recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital, or to move the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to the contested city.

White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders says Trump has calls scheduled with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Jordan's King Abdullah and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.

Sanders says Trump is likely to speak with other counterparts Tuesday. She did not identify them, as those calls haven't been confirmed.

U.S. officials say Trump may recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital this week as a way to offset a likely decision to delay his campaign promise to move the U.S. embassy there.

Arab and Muslim opposition to such a move was mounting Tuesday.

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3 p.m.

The European Union's foreign policy chief is subtly warning the United States against moves that would undermine Mideast peace.

Federica Mogherini is meeting with U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson in Brussels. She's calling for a "meaningful peace process" leading to a two-state solution for Israelis and Palestinians.

Mogherini says the EU believes that "any action that would undermine this effort must be absolutely avoided." She appeared to be referring to President Donald Trump's deliberations about moving the U.S. Embassy in Israel to contested Jerusalem.

Mogherini says the EU will discuss the peace issue with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday and early next year with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.

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2:15 p.m.

The chief of the Arab League is warning the United States not to take any measures that would change Jerusalem's current legal and political status.

Ahmed Aboul-Gheit spoke on Tuesday during a meeting in Cairo of Arab League representatives gathered to discuss President Donald Trump's possible recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital.

Aboul-Gheit says the possible U.S. decision would be a "dangerous measure that would have repercussions" across the entire Mideast region.

He also urged the Trump administration to reconsider the issue.

American officials have said Trump may recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital this week.

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1:15 p.m.

Israeli officials are playing down threats by Turkey's president, Tayyip Erdogan, to cut ties if President Donald Trump goes ahead with recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital.

The officials noted on Tuesday that Jerusalem has been the "capital of the Jewish people for 3000 years and Israel's capital for 70 years, regardless of whether Erdogan recognizes this or not."

They spoke on condition of anonymity because the government has not yet commented formally.

Israeli Education Minister Naftali Bennett, meanwhile, said that "at the end of the day it is better to have a united Jerusalem than Erdogan's sympathy."

Israel claims all of Jerusalem as its capital, while the Palestinians claim the eastern part of the city, captured by Israel in 1967, as their capital. The rival claims are at the heart of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and a U.S. decision taking sides could roil the region.

-Josef Federman in Jerusalem;

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1:05 p.m.

The Trump administration appears to have missed a statutory deadline to sign a new waiver keeping the U.S. Embassy in Israel in the city of Tel Aviv.

The deadline came and went without any White House announcement about whether President Donald Trump had signed a waiver. Without the waiver, by the law the embassy is supposed to move to Jerusalem. The White House said Monday that Trump was still deciding.

American officials have said Trump may recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital this week.

The implications of missing the deadline are unclear. Lawyers have said there's some flexibility in the exact timing. Congress could withhold State Department funding for overseas facilities but is unlikely to do so. The Trump administration has blown through many other congressional deadlines without consequence in the past.

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12:55 p.m.

Saudi Arabia has spoken out strongly against any possible U.S. recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital.

The kingdom, a regional powerhouse that could help the White House push through a Middle East settlement, expressed its "grave and deep concern" about such a possible recognition.

In a statement on the state-run Saudi Press Agency, the Foreign Ministry said on Tuesday that the kingdom affirms the rights of Palestinian people regarding Jerusalem which it said "cannot be changed."

The statement warned that this step would "provoke sentiments of Muslims throughout world."

Palestinians seek east Jerusalem, captured and annexed by Israel in 1967, as a future capital. Israel claims all of Jerusalem as its capital.

American officials have said Trump may recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital this week.

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11:40 a.m.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan says that U.S. recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital is a 'red line' for Muslims.

Erdogan said in a speech in parliament on Tuesday that such a step would lead Ankara to cut off all diplomatic ties with Israel. He also said he would convene a summit meeting of countries of the Organization for Islamic Cooperation to oppose any move recognizing Jerusalem.

Israel regards Jerusalem as its capital, a position nearly the entire world rejects saying its status should be determined in peace talks with the Palestinians. The Palestinians claim the eastern part of the city as their future capital.

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10:40 a.m.

The diplomatic adviser of President Mahmoud Abbas says the Palestinian leadership would "stop contacts" with the United States if President Donald Trump recognizes Jerusalem as Israel's capital.

U.S. officials have said a possible recognition might come this week, prompting mounting Arab and Muslim criticism.

Abbas' aide Majdi Khaldi said on Tuesday the U.S. would lose credibility as a Mideast mediator if Trump goes ahead with the move.

East Jerusalem, captured by Israel in 1967, is home to major Muslim, Christian and Jewish holy sites. The Palestinians seek it as a future capital, while Israel claims all of Jerusalem as its capital.

Arab League representatives were to discuss the Jerusalem controversy on Tuesday. The organization said on Monday that Trump's possible recognition would constitute "naked aggression" against Muslims and Arabs.

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