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.

The Citizen (KZN) - - WORLD - Wash­ing­ton

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

Pic­ture: 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.

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