Trump move fans flames in Mid-East
FURIOUS protests swept the Middle East yesterday after Donald Trump officially recognised Jerusalem as the capital of Israel – a decision likened to “opening the gates of Hell”.
The historic announcement sparked scenes of flag-burning in Palestinian territories and Arab nations while world leaders and US allies condemned the move.
As protesters took to the streets from Turkey to Egypt, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas ordered representatives in Washington DC to return home. He said the US had “withdrawn from its role in the peace process”.
Palestinians set fire to pictures of the US President as Hamas, which runs the Gaza strip, threatened a “day of rage” today and said Mr Trump had opened “the gates of Hell on US interests in the region”.
They released a chilling message ordering Palestinians to rise up and send a message to Israel.
Mr Trump’s White House speech officially recognised Jerusalem as the capital of Israel – a decision he said was “long overdue” after delays by past presidents – as he told his State Department to begin moving the US embassy from Tel Aviv.
He said: “I have judged this course of action to be in the best interests of the US and the pursuit of peace.”
There are fears his decision could send the region into further bloodshed and delay peace.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said the annoucement marked a “historic day”.
But opponents believe Trump’s speech amounted to a declaration of war, with Hamas calling it the “kiss of death” to the two-state solution.
Western allies issued firm challenges.
British PM Theresa May disagreed with Mr Trump’s “unhelpful” decision and insisted Jerusalem’s status should be set by Israel and Palestine.
France’s Emmanuel Macron called on the White House to step back.
Foreign Minister Julie Bishop insists Australia won’t be moving its Tel Aviv embassy to Jerusalem.
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said: “I have consistently spoken out against any unilateral measures that would jeopardise the prospect of peace.”