“Moving the U.S. embassy is a dangerous step that provokes the feelings of Muslims around the world,” King Salman of Saudi Arabia told Mr. Trump in their call, according to Saudi state television.
Late on Tuesday, Palestinian national and Islamic groups issued a joint statement calling for three days of “popular anger” to protest Mr. Trump’s move, beginning on Wednesday throughout the Palestinian territories and in demonstrations at United States embassies and consulates around the world.
Fearing attacks, the American consulate in Jerusalem barred employees and family members from going to the Old City or the West Bank, while the State Department urged embassies around the world to tighten their security.
Jerusalem is one of the world’s most fiercely contested swaths of real estate, with both sides disputing each other’s claims. West Jerusalem is the seat of Israel’s government, but the Palestinians view East Jerusalem as the capital of a future Palestinian state, and most of the world considers it occupied territory. Jerusalem’s Old City has the third-holiest mosque in Islam and the holiest site in Judaism, making the city’s status a sensitive issue for Muslims and Jews worldwide alike.
Mr. Trump’s decision drew applause from some in Israel and the United States, even if Mr. Netanyahu and the Israeli government were studiously silent in advance of the president’s speech.
“The U.S. recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital is a positive and important step, particularly amid Palestinian efforts to undermine the historic ties between the Jewish nation and the City of David,” said Amos Yadlin, executive director of Tel Aviv University’s Institute for National Security Studies.
Morton Klein, president of the Zionist Organization of America, said, “It is high time to move the embassy to Jerusalem.” He added, “Not moving it to Jerusalem for 22 years has not brought us closer to peace.”
White House officials said Mr. Trump remained committed to what he has called the “ultimate deal” between Israel and the Palestinians. The decision, they said, was “recognition of current and historic reality.” They said it could hasten, rather than impede, peace negotiations by removing a source of ambiguity from the American position.
Mr. Trump, officials said, would make clear that the United States is not taking a position on whether, or how, Jerusalem is divided between Israel and the…