‘Day of rage’ in Mideast

As Pales­tini­ans and Is­raelis clash, U.S. al­lies de­nounce move

The Dallas Morning News - - Front Page - Los An­ge­les Times, The Wash­ing­ton Post, The As­so­ci­ated Press

RA­MAL­LAH, West Bank — Protests erupted through­out the West Bank, the Gaza Strip and cities across the Mid­dle East in what was dubbed a “day of rage” on Thurs­day af­ter Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump’s recog­ni­tion of Jerusalem as Is­rael’s cap­i­tal.

Trump said Wed­nes­day that he would “of­fi­cially rec­og­nize Jerusalem as Is­rael’s cap­i­tal,” spark­ing world­wide out­rage, in­clud­ing from Wash­ing­ton’s clos­est al­lies in the re­gion. Demon­stra­tors

burned posters of Trump and Amer­i­can flags. Some Pales­tinian lead­ers called for a new in­tifada, or up­ris­ing, in re­sponse to the con­tro­ver­sial move.

In the wake of Trump’s speech, Pales­tinian fac­tions called for a gen­eral strike on Thurs­day, and the Pales­tinian Ed­u­ca­tion Min­istry can­celed classes so stu­dents and teach­ers could par­tic­i­pate in the demon­stra­tions.

Thou­sands of res­i­dents poured into ma­jor thor­ough­fares in Ra­mal­lah, Jeri­cho, He­bron and Beth­le­hem, as well as East Jerusalem’s Da­m­as­cus Gate. Pales­tini­ans have long re­garded the east­ern, Arab-dom­i­nated part of Jerusalem as the fu­ture cap­i­tal of a Pales­tinian state.

“How can the pres­i­dent of the United States flout in­ter­na­tional res­o­lu­tions and ig­nore the feel­ings of mil­lions of Arabs and Mus­lims?” asked Suha Ar­rar,

a 43-year-old em­ployee at the Pales­tinian Min­istry of Health. She said she had come out to protest “the un­prece­dented ar­ro­gance of the U.S. ad­min­is­tra­tion.”

Ahmed Gh­neim, a leader with the Pales­tinian fac­tion Fatah, ex­pressed his re­jec­tion of the Trump de­ci­sion, adding that the “hon­ey­moon” be­tween Trump and Is­raeli Prime Min­is­ter Ben­jamin Ne­tanyahu would not come with­out costs.

“For 30 years, the Pales­tinian lead­er­ship thought the U.S. was the key to the so­lu­tion,” he said. “Trump’s de­ci­sion proved this key is not suit­able for any so­lu­tion.”

Street clashes

Mustafa Bargh­outhi, a Pales­tinian politi­cian in the West Bank, in­sisted that Trump’s de­ci­sion “for­bids Pales­tini­ans from hav­ing any con­tact with the U.S.,” which, he said, “has com­pletely lost its role as a bro­ker of the peace process.”

Clashes flared be­tween the pro­test­ers and Is­raeli troops, who de­ployed wa­ter can­nons and fired what ap­peared to be rub­ber bul­lets and tear gas to dis­perse the demon­stra­tors.

The Pales­tine Red Cres­cent So­ci­ety said in a state­ment Thurs­day that it had treated more than 108 wounded in Gaza and the West Bank, adding that a num­ber had been shot with live am­mu­ni­tion.

Is­mail Haniyah, head of the Pales­tinian mil­i­tant group Ha­mas, said Trump’s an­nounce­ment marked “a new equa­tion” in the “Satanic al­liance” be­tween the U.S and Is­rael that could “only be con­fronted by launch­ing the spark of a new in­tifada.” He added that Jerusalem was “uni­fied,” and Pales­tinian.

“There is no ex­is­tence for Is­rael on the land of Pales­tine. It has no pres­ence on the land of Pales­tine for it to have a cap­i­tal,” he said. “We de­clare … that what is called the peace process has been buried.”

U.S. al­lies re­ject move

Pales­tinian Pres­i­dent Mah­moud Ab­bas be­gan a round of diplo­matic ma­neu­ver­ing by meet­ing Jor­dan’s King Ab­dul­lah in Am­man, where po­lice had blocked roads lead­ing to the U.S. Em­bassy in the West Am­man neigh­bor­hood of Ab­doun to pre­vent pro­test­ers from reach­ing its grounds.

Both lead­ers, ac­cord­ing to a state­ment, “af­firmed that any mea­sure to tam­per with the his­tor­i­cal and le­gal sta­tus of Jerusalem is null and void and will only lead to more ten­sion and vi­o­lence in the re­gion and the world.”

Re­gional lead­ers echoed the sen­ti­ment, with Turk­ish Pres­i­dent Re­cep Tayyip Er­do­gan say­ing on Thurs­day that it was a “step that would throw … this re­gion into a ring of fire.”

Late Wed­nes­day, Egypt said the de­ci­sion would in­flame anger in the Arab and Mus­lim worlds. The grand imam of Egypt’s al-azhar, the premier seat of Sunni learn­ing, also re­jected the move, ac­cus­ing Trump of deny­ing Pales­tini­ans their right to Jerusalem.

Even stal­wart U.S. al­lies such as Saudi Ara­bia and the United Arab Emi­rates — oth­er­wise ad­mir­ers of Trump’s pres­i­dency — crit­i­cized the ad­min­is­tra­tion over the new pol­icy.

The Saudi gov­ern­ment de­scribed the de­ci­sion as an “ir­re­spon­si­ble and un­war­ranted step,” ac­cord­ing to the state-run news agency. Qatar warned of “se­ri­ous reper­cus­sions” for sta­bil­ity in the re­gion.

Iraqi Prime Min­is­ter Haider al-abadi, who has part­nered closely with the United States in the fight against the Is­lamic State, said the move could lead to “dan­ger­ous es­ca­la­tion” in the re­gion.

“The U.S. ad­min­is­tra­tion must re­verse this un­just de­ci­sion,” al-abadi said Thurs­day. Iraq’s For­eign Min­istry said it had sum­moned U.S. Am­bas­sador Dou­glas Sil­li­man to re­ceive a for­mal let­ter of protest.

Jerusalem, though di­vided, is con­sid­ered holy by Jews, Chris­tians and Mus­lims.

Mean­while, Ne­tanyahu thanked Trump for his “his­toric an­nounce­ment” and in­sisted that other coun­tries would soon fol­low suit and move their em­bassies to Jerusalem.

‘God is weep­ing’

Be­yond the re­gion, Ger­man Chan­cel­lor An­gela Merkel re­stated her op­po­si­tion to the pol­icy. “It is clear that in the frame­work of ne­go­ti­at­ing a two-state so­lu­tion the sta­tus of Jerusalem also needs to be dealt with,” she said. “In that con­text, we dis­agree with the de­ci­sion yes­ter­day.”

Merkel’s re­marks were in line with crit­i­cal state­ments ear­lier from ma­jor Euro­pean al­lies of the United States such as Bri­tain, France, Ger­many and the Nether­lands.

In Pak­istan, demon­stra­tors protested in Is­lam­abad, Karachi and Pe­shawar. Prime Min­is­ter Shahid Khaqan Ab­basi called the move “a se­ri­ous set­back to the rule of law” and against “in­ter­na­tional norms.”

He urged the United States to “re­visit its de­ci­sion as soon as pos­si­ble in or­der to avoid the po­ten­tially grave reper­cus­sions in the re­gion and be­yond.”

And in Jo­han­nes­burg, ail­ing No­bel lau­re­ate Des­mond Tutu said in a rare pub­lic state­ment: “God is weep­ing over Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump’s in­flam­ma­tory and dis­crim­i­na­tory recog­ni­tion of Jerusalem as the cap­i­tal of Is­rael. … It is our re­spon­si­bil­ity to tell Mr. Trump that he is wrong.”

Else­where, mil­i­tants who have fought U.S. troops in Afghanistan and Iraq took the op­por­tu­nity to con­demn both Is­rael and the United States.

Akram al-kaabi, head of the Iran-backed Nu­jaba mili­tia in Iraq, called Trump’s de­ci­sion “fool­ish” and pre­dicted that it would spark an up­ris­ing. He added that the move le­git­imizes at­tacks on U.S. forces, of which there are thou­sands in Iraq.

Ab­bas Mo­mani/agence France-presse

A Pales­tinian burned an Amer­ica flag Thurs­day dur­ing clashes with Is­raeli troops near the Jewish set­tle­ment of Beit El in the West Bank. U.S. al­lies de­cried Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump’s recog­ni­tion of Jerusalem as Is­rael’s cap­i­tal.

Thomas Coex/agence France-presse

Pales­tinian chil­dren on Thurs­day looked at a van­dal­ized im­age of Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump and slo­gans against Vice Pres­i­dent Mike Pence painted on Is­rael’s con­tro­ver­sial sep­a­ra­tion wall in the West Bank city of Beth­le­hem.

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