Trump move fans flames in Mid-East

The Observer - - NEWS WORLD - Neal Baker The Sun

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.”

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