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 the Year, with a fresh warnings from Turkey, the European Union and Russia.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, however, said that he would be pleased with Trump, saying he would be associated with Jerusalem’s long history and urging other countries to follow his lead. 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, but unrest was limited for now. At least two rockets were believed to have been fired from the Gaza Strip towards Israel, but Israel’s military said they were inside the Palestinian enclave. Further protests were expected after the weekly Muslim prayers on Friday, with Hamas calling for a “day of rage”. Protests on Thursday were held in West Bank cities including Ramallah, Hebron, Bethlehem and Nablus, as well as in the Gaza Strip. Israeli forces dispersed several hundred protesters at a checkpoint at the entrance to Ramallah, while the Palestinian Red Crescent reported 22 people wounded from live fire or rubber bullets in the West Bank.

AFP / ABBAS MOMANI
Israeli forces take a position with Palestinian protesters near a checkpoint in the West Bank of Ramallah on December 7, 2017
Five Palestinians were wounded from Israeli fire in Gaza Strip as dozens protested near the fence off the enclave of Israel, Gazan authorities said. 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. “Jerusalem is the capital of Israel,” he said in a speech from the White House on Wednesday. US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said Thursday that Trump was “simply carrying the will of the American people”. – ‘Darker times’ – 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”.

AFP / SAID KHATIB
Hamas leader Ismail Haniya calls for a new Palestinian intifada or uprising over US President Donald Trump’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, in a speech in Gaza City on December 7, 2017
It is said that the United States is “unjustified and irresponsible”. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said it would be the region in a “ring of fire”.
Palestinian leaders have been outraged, with President Mahmud Abbas saying Trump had disqualified the United States from its traditional role as peace broker in the Middle East conflict. Abbas visited Amman on Thursday to discuss the issue with Jordan’s King Abdullah II. In a joint statement, the two leaders said, “Any measure will be trumped by the legal and historical status of Jerusalem is invalid” and warned that “Trump’s decision will have dangerous repercussions”. Angry protests were staged in Amman and Tunis. Palestinian shops in east Jerusalem, including the Old City, are more likely to be shut down and schools closed on Thursday in response 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.

AFP / Jaafar ASHTIYEH
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
Through gritted teeth, Britain described the move as “unhelpful” and France called it “regrettable”. German Chancellor Angela Merkel said “we … disagree with the last evening decision”.
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 kicked off the process of moving the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. In doing so, he begins to make good on a campaign of honor to US evangelical Christian and right-wing Jewish voters – as well as donors. Trump’s predecessors, from Bill Clinton to George Bush, had made the same promise, but quickly reneged upon taking office.

AFP / Musa AL SHAER
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 Six-Day War of 1967 and later annexed it in a move never recognized by 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 only be resolved by a chief Antonio Guterres in the wake of Trump’s decision. 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.

AFP / SAUL LOEB
US President Donald Trump signs a memorandum recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital on December 6, 2017
“The United States would have a two-state solution,” Trump said, as he announced that Vice President Mike Pence would return to the region. burs-mjs / dv

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