U.S. Marine Corps Fleet Antiterrorism Security Teams (FAST) have bolstered security across “several” U.S. embassies in the Middle East ahead of the expected announcement Wednesday by President Donald Trump about moving the U.S. embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem — as well as mulling whether to recognize Jerusalem officially as the Israeli capital.
Israeli security officials say they're also preparing for a potential outbreak of violence. “We understand that in any moment the order that we have achieved could change,” said Jerusalem District Police Commander Major Gen. Yoram Halvy about the potential outbreak of violence with moving the U.S. Embassy to the holy city. “Any second this place could be set on fire.”
Jerusalem’s status long has been a flash point in the Arab-Israeli conflict, with both Palestinians and Israelis claiming the city as their capital. In 1995, Congress passed a law recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, but allowed U.S. presidents to sign a six-month waiver postponing the move to entice both Israeli and Palestinians to the negotiating table.
On Tuesday, Palestinian leaders said that if Trump recognized Jerusalem, as he has promised to do, the move would end U.S.-led peace efforts.
“If Mr. Trump recognizes Jerusalem, he will destroy any chance of the deal of the century,” Dr. Nabil Shaath, an adviser to Palestinian President Mahmud Abbas, said referring to Trump’s vow to reach a peace agreement between Israelis and Palestinians.
Shaath said Palestinians would continue to work with other countries toward a two-state solution.
Arab and European leaders also have pushed the Trump administration to resume peace negotiations. Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’ Fatah political party has called for daily protests marches this week.
With the threat of a violent Palestinian reaction, Israel’s police and military commanders have been meeting to evaluate the potential for escalation.
Fox News' Lucas Tomlinson contributed to this report.