OCCUPIED AL-QUDS (Dispatches) -- Global concern mounted Wednesday ahead of an announcement by U.S. President Donald Trump to recognize Jerusalem Al-Quds as the capital of the occupying regime ofIsrael, with Pope Francis joining a list of leaders warning of a potential dangerous fallout.
The move by Trump, set to come in a speech later Wednesday, would upend decades of careful U.S. policy and ignore dire warnings of a historic misstep that could trigger a surge of tensions in the Middle East.
A senior administration official said Trump would make the announcement at 1800 GMT from the White House on the city whose status is a critical issue in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Plunging further into a decades-long dispute over a city considered holy by Jews, Muslims and Christians, Trump will also order planning to move the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem Al-Quds.
Such planning would take years to implement, the official said.
In a frantic series of calls, the leaders of Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Jordan, the European Union, France, Germany, Turkey and Iran all warned Trump against the move.
Anticipating protests, U.S. government officials and their families were ordered to avoid Old City of Al-Quds and the West Bank.
Hundreds of Palestinians burned U.S. and Zionist flags as well as pictures of Trump in the Gaza Strip, while relatively clashes erupted near the flashpoint West Bank city of Hebron (Al-Khalil).
A range of world leaders issued further warnings.
"I cannot silence my deep concern over the situation that has emerged in recent days," Pope Francis said, a day after speaking by phone with Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas.
The pontiff added that maintaining the status quo in Al-Quds was important "in order to avoid adding new elements of tension to an already volatile world that is wracked by so many cruel conflicts".
British foreign minister Boris Johnson, speaking as he arrived for a NATO meeting in Brussels, expressed concern "because we think that Jerusalem (Al-Quds) obviously should be part of the final settlement between the Israelis and the Palestinians, a negotiated settlement".
British Prime Minister Theresa May said she planned to call Trump about his plan.
China warned it could fuel tensions in the region and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said "Muslims must stand united against this major plot."
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan called for a summit of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) in Istanbul on December 13 "to display joint action among Islamic countries" over Al-Quds.
Rouhani and Erdogan held a phone conversation during which the Iranian president denounced as "provocative and dangerous” the U.S. and called for concerted action by Muslim and other nations to stop such an illegal measure.
While the region requires stability and security, such illegal moves by the U.S. and the Zionist regime could push "the Palestinian state and the whole region” toward instability, Rouhani added.
Erdogan said Trump’s worrying decision results from internal rifts in the Muslim world, stressing that Islamic countries should express unity and stand against the U.S. move that is in violation of human rights and of all UN decisions about that status of Al-Quds.
Jordan and the Palestinians also called for an emergency meeting of the Arab League in Cairo.
U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson defended Trump's approach in Brussels, saying the president was "very committed" to the Middle East "peace” process.
Trump's move comes close to fulfilling a campaign promise, and will delight his political donors and the conservative and evangelical base so vital for the embattled president.
Most of the international community does not formally recognize Jerusalem Al-Quds as Israel's capital.
Critics say Trump's approach could ignite the flames of conflict in a region already reeling from crises in Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, Yemen and Qatar.
The Palestinian resistance movement Hamas has threatened to launch a new "intifada" or uprising. Palestinians called for three days of protests - or "days of rage" - starting Wednesday, raising fears of potential unrest.
The occupying regime of Israel seized the eastern sector of Al-Quds during the 1967 Six-Day War and later annexed it, claiming both sides of the city as its capital.
The Palestinians want the eastern sector as the capital of their future state.
Trump was pushed to act on the embassy as a result of a 1995 law, which stated that the city "should be recognized as the capital of Israel" and the U.S. embassy be moved there.
A waiver has been invoked by successive U.S. presidents, postponing the move on grounds of "national security" once every six months, meaning the law has never taken effect.
Several "peace” plans have unraveled in the past decades over the issue of how to divide sovereignty or oversee holy sites in Al-Quds.