Trump opens ‘gates of hell’
RECOGNITION OF JERUSALEM AS ISRAELI CAPITAL FANS BLOODSHED FEARS Israel is sovereign nation and can make its own decisions, says US president.
US President Donald Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital prompted an almost universal diplomatic backlash and fears yesterday of new bloodshed in the Middle East.
Trump’s defiant move – making good on a pledge made during his 2016 presidential campaign – ends seven decades of US ambiguity on the status of the Holy City, which is vociferously claimed by both Israelis and Palestinians.
“Israel is a sovereign nation with the right like every other sovereign nation to determine its own capital,” he said in a White House speech on Wednesday.
“It is time to officially recognise Jerusalem as the capital of Israel,” he said, urging calm and “the voices of tolerance to prevail over the purveyors of hate”.
But the move immediately sparked anger.
The Palestine Liberation Organisation announced a strike across the West Bank yesterday, while Hamas – the Palestinian Islamist movement that runs the Gaza Strip – called for a “day of rage” today. Hamas warned Trump had opened “the gates of hell on US interests in the region”.
Although welcomed by Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as a “courageous and just decision”, Trump’s move left many US allies angry.
Saudi Arabia yesterday blasted the move as “unjustified and irresponsible” and Palestinian President Mahmud Abbas said Trump’s “deplorable and unacceptable” move meant that the United States was withdrawing as a sponsor of the peace process.
Through gritted teeth, Britain described the move as “unhelpful” and France called it “regrettable”. Germany said plainly that it “does not support” Trump’s decision. – AFP
POLITICAL PALS. The US flag hangs at the entrance of a Jerusalem Municipality building following US President Donald Trump’s decision on Wednesday to recognise the city as the capital of Israel.