Trump's Jerusalem move triggers Palestinian unrest (VIDEO)
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People shout slogans against Israel while burning a makeshift Israeli flag during a protest against Trump's Jerusalem declaration, in front of the Syndicate of Journalists in Cairo, Egypt December 7, 2017. â" Reuters picRAMALLAH, Dec 8 â" US President Donald Trumpâs recognition of Jerusalem as Israelâs capital sparked Palestinian protests, sporadic clashes and a call for a new intifada yesterday as fears grew of fresh bloodshed in the region.
Trumpâs announcement also prompted an almost universal diplomatic backlash, including warnings from Turkey, the European Union and Russia.
And a senior Palestinian official said US Vice President Mike Pence was ânot welcome in Palestineâ as the White House warned that cancelling a planned meeting between Pence and Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas later this month would be âcounterproductiveâ.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, meanwhile, lavished praise on Trump, saying his name would now be associated with Jerusalemâs long history and urging other countries to follow his lead.
Israelâs military deployed hundreds more troops to the occupied West Bank amid uncertainty over the fallout, while sporadic clashes between Palestinians and Israeli security forces erupted in various areas.
In a speech in Gaza City, Hamas leader I smail Haniya called for a new intifada, or uprising.
Within hours several projectiles were fired from the Gaza Strip, the Israeli military said.
One hit Israeli territory, prompting the army and air force to retaliate by targeting âtwo terror postsâ in Gaza, it said, blaming Hamas, the enclaveâs Islamist rulers.
Hamas has called for a âday of rageâ against Trumpâs decision after the main weekly Muslim prayers on Friday.
Yesterday demonstrations were held in West Bank cities including Ramallah, Hebron, Bethlehem and Nablus, as well as in Gaza.
Israeli forces dispersed hundreds with tear gas at a checkpoint entrance to Ramallah, while the Palestinian Red Crescent reported 22 people wounded from live fire or rubber bullets in the West Bank.
Five Palestinians were wounded from Israeli fire in Gaza as dozens protested near the barrier sealing off the enclave from Israel, Gazan authorities said.
âDarker t imesâ
Trumpâs defiant move â" making good on a pledge from his 2016 presidential campaign â" ends seven decades of US ambiguity on the status of the Holy City, claimed by both Israelis and Palestinians.
Trump said it marks the start of a ânew approachâ to solving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
âIt is time to officially recognise Jerusalem as the capital of Israel,â he said Wednesday.
US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said Trump was âsimply carrying out the will of the American peopleâ.
But his willingness to part with international consensus on such a sensitive issue drew increasingly urgent warnings from around the world.
EU diplomatic chief Federica Mogherini said the decision could take the region âbackwards to even darker timesâ.
Russian President Vladimir Putin said he was âdeeply concernedâ and called for the Palestinians and Israel to âhold backâ and rene w negotiations.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said it would put the region in a âring of fireâ.
Palestinian leaders were outraged.
A senior member of Abbasâs Fatah faction, Jibril Rajoub, said the Palestinian president would not meet Pence during his planned visit later this month as part of a regional tour.
âThe American vice president is not welcome in Palestine. And President Abbas will not welcome himâ in the wake of the US shift on Jerusalem, said Rajoub.
Abbasâs office could not be reached for comment, but the Palestinian president has said Trump disqualified the United Staes from its traditional role as a peace broker.
Abbas discussed the Jerusalem issue with Jordanâs King Abdullah II.
In a joint statement, they said âany measure tampering with the legal and historical status of Jerusalem is invalidâ and warned Trumpâs decision would âhave dangerous repercussionsâ.
In Lebanon, Hassan Nasrallah, the head of the powerful Shiite movement Hezbollah, called for a mass demonstration on Monday âto protest and denounce this American aggressionâ.
Palestinian shops in east Jerusalem, including the Old City, as well as in the West Bank were largely shuttered and schools closed in answer to a general strike call.
âBy this decision, America became a very small country, like any small country in the world, like Micronesia,â Salah Zuhikeh, 55, told AFP in Jerusalemâs Old City.
Trumpâs move left many angry US allies struggling to find a diplomatic response.
Eight countries including Britain, France and Italy pressed for an emergency meeting of the UN Security Council in response, which was set for Friday.
Trump also kicked off the process of moving the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem â" keeping with another campa ign promise dear to US evangelical Christian and right-wing Jewish voters.
His predecessors had made the same promise, but quickly reneged upon taking office.
Israel seized Arab east Jerusalem in the 1967 Six-Day War and later annexed it in a move never recognised by the international community.
The Palestinians want the eastern sector as the capital of their future state.
Several peace plans have unravelled in the past decades over the issue of how to divide sovereignty or oversee holy sites in Jerusalem.
The international community does not recognise the ancient city as Israelâs capital, insisting the issue can only be resolved in negotiations â" a point reiterated by UN chief Antonio Guterres.
Guterres implicitly criticised Trump, stressing his opposition to âany unilateral measures that would jeopardise the prospect of peaceâ.
Trump insisted the move did not prejudge final talks, saying it simply reflected the reality that west Jerusalem is and will continue to be part of Israel under any settlement.
âThe United States would support a two-state solution if agreed to by both sides,â Trump said, as he announced Vice President Mike Pence would travel to the region in coming days. â" AFPSource: Google News