Speed Reads

Jerusalem

Trump's expected decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital could spark violent backlash at American embassies

World leaders will closely watch President Trump's speech at the National Defense University on Wednesday, as it could be the first sign of whether his administration will formally recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. The State Department will also be closely watching the speech, after having delivered cables to warn its staff of an increased terrorism threat if Trump indeed decides to recognize Jerusalem, Politico reports.

American allies around the world, including France and Turkey, have warned Trump against recognizing Jerusalem as Israel's capital. The militant Palestinian group Hamas has already called for an uprising, or "intifada," if Trump indeed decides to recognize the disputed city. "You can't either move the embassy or even declare Jerusalem the capital without driving the Palestinians away from the negotiating table, and winning them the support of the Arabs in doing so," Daniel C. Kurtzer, the former American ambassador to Israel and Egypt, told The New York Times.

State Department officials fear there could be reactions like those that followed an anti-Muslim video in 2012, which led to widespread protests and terrorists targeting the embassy in Benghazi, Libya, and killing four Americans. "The impending Jerusalem announcement has me very worried about the possibility of violent responses that could affect embassies," said a State Department official. "I hope I'm wrong." Read more about the potential backlash at Politico.