Palestinians say US can no longer play role of peace mediator
Palestinian youth take to the streets to throw stones at occupation soldiers
Across the world condemnations have been sounded over Washington’s recognition of Occupied Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.
Palestinians said the move meant that the US could no longer play the role as a peace mediator.
The European Union and United Nations also voiced alarm at US President Donald Trump’s decision and its repercussions for any chances of reviving Israeli-Palestinian peacemaking.
Major US allies came out against Trump’s reversal of decades of US and broad international policy on Occupied Jerusalem.
Call for calm
France rejected the “unilateral” decision while appealing for calm in the region.
Britain said the move would not help peace efforts and Occupied Jerusalem should ultimately be shared by Israel and a future Palestinian state.
Germany said Occupied Jerusalem’s status could only be resolved on the basis of a twostate solution.
Israel, by contrast, applauded Trump’s move. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in a pre-recorded video message that it was “an important step towards peace” and it was “our goal from Israel’s first day”.
Trump upended decades of US policy in defiance of warnings from around the world that the gesture risks aggravating conflict in the tinderbox Middle East.
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, in a pre-recorded speech, said Occupied Jerusalem was the “eternal capital of the State of Palestine” and that Trump’s move was “tantamount to the United States abdicating its role as a peace mediator.”
The Palestinian Islamist group Hamas, which has dominated Gaza since soon after Israel ended a 38-year occupation in 2005, said Trump had committed a “flagrant aggression against the Palestinian people”.
Hamas urged Arabs and Muslims to “undermine US interests in the region” and to “shun Israel”.
Down with America
Protests broke out in parts of Jordan’s capital Amman inhabited by Palestinian refugees, with youths chanting antiAmerican slogans.
In the Baqaa refugee camp on Amman’s outskirts, hundreds roamed the streets denouncing Trump and urging Jordan to scrap its 1994 peace treaty with Israel.
“Down with America ... America is the mother of terror,” they chanted.
Angry Palestinians switched off Christmas lights at Jesus’ traditional birthplace in the Occupied West Bank town of Bethlehem and in Ramallah.
Skirmishes between Palestinian protesters and Israeli occupation soldiers broke out Thursday in Ramallah and other places in the West Bank and Gaza.
The Palestinian National Authority called for a general strike in Palestinian cities and, in Gaza, the Islamist Hamas movement urged its followers to ignite a third intifada, or uprising, against Israel. At a checkpoint near Ramallah, Israeli forces fired on hundreds of Palestinian protesters gathering to air their anger over Trump’s statement. “This will be bad,” said an ambulance driver.
Clashes also erupted in Occupied East Jerusalem and at the border fence between Israel and Gaza. There were early reports of injuries.
The Saudi Royal Court issued a statement saying that the kingdom followed “with deep sorrow” Trump’s decision and warned of “dangerous consequences”. The statement described the move as “a big step back in efforts to advance the peace process”, and urged the US administration to reverse its decision and adhere to international will.
Egypt brushed off Trump’s decision and said it did not change Jerusalem’s true status.
Jordan said Trump’s action was “legally null” because it consolidated Israel’s occupation of East Jerusalem.
Lebanese President Michel Aoun said Trump’s Jerusalem decision was dangerous and threatened the credibility of the United States as a broker of Middle East peace. He said the move would put back the peace process by decades and threatened regional stability and perhaps global stability.
A few hundred protesters gathered outside the US consulate in Istanbul, a Reuters cameraman at the scene said. The protest was largely peaceful, though some of the demonstrators threw coins and other objects at the consulate.
Threat to global security
In Southeast Asia, the leaders of Muslim-majority Indonesia and Malaysia denounced Trump’s action.
“This can rock global security and stability,” Indonesian President Joko Widodo, leader of the world’s largest Muslim-majority nation, told a news conference in which he called for the United States to reconsider its decision.
British Prime Minister Theresa May disagreed with Trump’s embrace of Occupied Jerusalem as Israel’s capital before a finalstatus agreement as this was unlikely to help nurture peace in the region, her spokesman said.
French President Emmanuel Macron said he did not support Trump’s “unilateral” move.
“The status of Jerusalem is a question of international security that concerns the entire international community. The status of Jerusalem must be determined by Israelis and Palestinians in the framework of negotiations under the auspices of the United Nations,” Macron told reporters in Algiers.
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said there was no alternative to a two-state solution and Occupied Jerusalem was a final-status matter only to be settled through direct talks.
Palestinian demonstrators holding the national flag throw stones at Israeli troops during clashes in the West Bank city of Ramallah yesterday.