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Arabs, Muslims Warn Trump Against Recognizing Jerusalem as Israel's Capital

Palestinians holds posters of the U.S. President Donald Trump during a protest in the West Bank City of Ramallah, Dec. 6, 2017.

The Middle East is on edge as President Donald Trump plans to make a controversial change in U.S. policy on Jerusalem.

Palestinians are calling for three "Days of Rage" to protest Trump's plan to move the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. Palestinian spokesman Nabil Abu Rudeineh warns that the decision would have dire consequences for American efforts to revive peace talks with Israel.

"It would complicate things," he said. "It would put an obstacle to the peace process. Maybe it will be the end of the peace process."

Trump's recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital touches a raw nerve among Arabs and Muslims in general, and Palestinians in particular. The city is home to the Mosque of Al-Aqsa, the third holiest place in Islam, and Palestinians claim East Jerusalem as the capital of a future state.

A view of Jerusalem Old City seen from Mount of Olives, Dec. 6, 2017.
A view of Jerusalem Old City seen from Mount of Olives, Dec. 6, 2017.

But for Jews, Jerusalem is the holiest place of all, and they claim ancient ties to the city going back to the biblical King David.

"Jerusalem has been the Jewish capital for 3,000 years," said Israeli Cabinet Minister Naftali Bennett. "It was never, and will never be, the capital of anyone else."

With that in mind, Israelis on the streets of Jerusalem say U.S. recognition is long overdue.

"I am very, very happy," said one Israeli. "I think it is about time. I think this the first time a president of America is keeping to his promises."

Jerusalem is a traditional flashpoint of violence, and Israeli security forces are on high alert. As one Palestinian official put it, "When you look at a place that is on the verge of an explosion, you do not introduce a flame."

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