It could also signify a formal shift away from the two-state solution for the Israel-Palestine conflict, which has been the official position of US administrations for decades but has faltered since 2014, when peace negotiations between Israeli and Palestinian politicians broke down. They have never been restarted.

Moreover, Trump’s support for Israel even extends to a threat to tear-up the hard-fought nuclear deal with Iran; hated by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu who had pressed for a military solution to Tehran’s ambitions to become a nuclear power and seen as an existential threat by his government.

The mooted Jerusalem move would outrage Israel’s Arab neighbours, as well as the entire Muslim world, including key American allies such as Saudi Arabia, and particularly Jordan which still administers the Muslim holy sites at al-Haram as-Sharif, known as the Temple Mount, to Jews. As a result, the shrine is one of the world’s most dangerous flashpoints.

Right wing Zionists have increasingly pressed for the rights to pray on the now Muslim sanctuary but believed to be the site of the First and Second Temples of the biblical era, destroyed in 70AD, and has led to accusation that Israel was trying to alter the highly sensitive status quo.

“Under international law and the political consensus of pretty much the entire international community, [east] Jerusalem is occupied territory, forcibly and militarily taken by Israel in 1967. Despite a lot of feelings to the contrary in repeated congresses, American administrations have resisted recognising Israel’s annexation,” said Dr H. A. Hellyer, senior non-resident fellow, Atlantic Council and the Royal United Services Institute .

“If Trump does it – and he is erratic enough that we shouldn’t discount it as a possibility – he will send a truly bad message to not simply American allies in the region more widely afield, but the international community in general.”

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