While Israel welcomed the news, Palestinian officials declared the Mideast peace process ‘finished’ and Turkey announced it would host a meeting of Islamic nations next week to give Muslim countries’ leaders an opportunity to coordinate a response.
In Gaza, U.S. and Israeli flags were burned and in the West Bank Hamas declared Friday a ‘day of rage,’ raising the specter of mass violence in the occupied territories.
Israeli security forces braced for violence as well.
The Pope made a plea for Trump to rethink urgently and spoke out at his weekly general audience in Rome .
‘I make a heartfelt appeal so that all commit themselves to respecting the status quo of the city, in conformity with the pertinent resolutions of the United Nations,’ Pope Francis said.
The Roman Catholic Pontiff told thousands of people at his general audience: ‘I cannot keep quiet about my deep concern about the situation that has been created in the last few days.’
A Turkish government spokesman said that the move will plunge the region and the world into ‘a fire with no end in sight.’
In the UK Prime Minister Theresa May said she would challenge the country’s closest ally.
‘I’m intending to speak to President Trump about this matter,’ May told MPs.
‘Our position has not changed, it has been a long standing one and it is also a very clear one.
‘It is that the status of Jerusalem should be determined in a negotiated settlement between the Israelis and the Palestinians, and Jerusalem should ultimately form a shared capital between the Israeli and Palestinian states.’
The harsh global reaction cast questions about the feasibility of a brewing U.S. peace plan that is expected to be presented by the White House in the near future.
Trump would effectively be making a declaration of war, the Palestinians’ chief representative to Britain said Wednesday before the president’s speech.
‘If he says what he is intending to say about Jerusalem being the capital of Israel, it means a kiss of death to the two-state solution,’ Manuel Hassassian said in a BBC radio interview.
‘He is declaring war in the Middle East, he is declaring war against 1.5 billion Muslims [and] hundreds of millions of Christians that are not going to accept the holy shrines to be totally under the hegemony of Israel,’ Hassassian added.
The Palestinians seek east Jerusalem as the capital of a future independent state and fear that Trump’s declaration essentially imposes on them a disastrous solution for one of the core issues in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
‘There is no way that there can be talks with the Americans. The peace process is finished. They have already pre-empted the outcome,’ said Palestinian official Hanan Ashrawi. ‘They cannot take us for granted.’
The U.S. decision ‘destroys the peace process,’ added Palestinian Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah. Top Palestinian officials were meeting Wednesday to plot their course forward.