AFP / Thomas COEX
Palestinian protesters clash with Israeli forces near a checkpoint in the West Bank Bethelem on December 7, 2017
US President Donald Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital sparked Palestinian protests, sporadic clashes and a call for a new intifada on Thursday as fears grew of fresh bloodshed in the region. Trump’s Announcement of a Complete Universal Diplomacy Backlash, including warnings from Turkey, the European Union and Russia.
And a senior Palestinian official said US Vice President Mike Pence was “not welcome in Palestine” as the White House warned that a planned meeting between Pence and Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas later this month would be “counterproductive”. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, meanwhile, has been praised on Trump, saying his name would be associated with Jerusalem’s long history and other countries. 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 Ismail 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, targeting the Gaza Strip, it said, blaming Hamas, the enclave’s Islamist rulers. Hamas has called for a “day of rage” against Trump’s decision after the weekly Muslim prayers on Friday.

Israeli forces take a position with Palestinian protesters near a checkpoint in the West Bank of Ramallah on December 7, 2017
On Thursday demonstrations were held in West Bank cities including Ramallah, Hebron, Bethlehem and Nablus, also in Gaza. Israeli forces dispersed at a checkpoint entrance to Ramallah, while the Palestinian Red Crescent reported 22 people 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. – ‘Darker times’ –

Palestinian emergency services evacuate a protestor who was wounded during clashes with Israeli troops following an anti-US demonstration near the West Bank city of Ramallah, on December 7, 2017
Trump’s defiant move – making a pledge of his 2016 presidential campaign – 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 “new approach” to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
“It is time to finally recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel,” he said Wednesday. US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said Trump was “simply carrying out the will of the American people”. But his willingness to share with international consensus on such a sensitive issue. EU diplomatic chief Federica Mogherini said the decision could be “backwards to even darker times”.

World reactions
Russian President Vladimir Putin said he was “deeply concerned” and called for the Palestinians and Israel to “hold back” and renew negotiations. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said it would be the region in a “ring of fire”.
– ‘Not welcome’ – Palestinian leaders have been outraged. A senior member of Abbas’ Fatah faction, Jibril Rajoub, said the Palestinian president would not meet his plan for a regional tour. “The American Vice President is not welcome in Palestine and President Abbas will not welcome him” in the wake of the US shift on Jerusalem, said Rajoub. Trump disqualified the United States from its traditional role as a peace broker.

Palestinian protesters singing slogans against US President Donald Trump’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as the Israeli capital at a rally in the West Bank city of Nablus on December 7, 2017
Abbas discussed the Jerusalem issue with Jordan’s King Abdullah II. In a joint statement, they said “any measure would have a dangerous impact”.
In Lebanon, Hassan Nasrallah, the head of the powerful Shiite movement Hezbollah, called for a mass demonstration on Monday “to protest and denounce this American aggression”. Palestinian shops in east Jerusalem, including the Old City, are more likely to be shut down and closed to a general strike call. “By this decision, America became a small country, like Micronesia,” Salah Zuhikeh, 55, told AFP in Jerusalem’s Old City. Trump’s move left many angry US allies struggling to find a diplomatic response. Eight countries including Britain, France and Italy for a meeting of the Security Council in response, which was set for Friday. – Right-wing politics – Trump also kicks off from the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. His predecessors had made the same promise, but quickly reneged upon taking office.

Palestinian demonstrators trample on US President Donald Trump in Bethlehem’s Eating Square on December 6, 2017, in protest at his recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital
Israel seized Arab east Jerusalem in the 1967 Six-Day War and later annexed to the international community. The Palestinians want the eastern sector as the capital of their future state.
Several peace plans have been adopted in the past decades over the issue of how to divide sovereignty or oversee holy sites in Jerusalem. The international community does not recognize the ancient city as Israel’s capital, insisting the issue can not be resolved – a point reiterated by UN chief Antonio Guterres. Guterres implicitly criticized Trump, stressing his opposition to “any unilateral measures that would jeopardize the prospect of peace”. 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. “The United States would support a two-state solution,” Trump said, as he announced Vice President Mike Pence would travel to the region in coming days. burs-mjs / HKB / dv

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