Protests broke out across the Middle East in response to President Trump’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. Demonstrators took to the streets of Cairo, Istanbul, Amman, Bethlehem, Ramallah, and other cities.
Protestors burned American flags outside the American consulate in Istanbul. Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim expressed his belief that President Trump's decision will raise tensions and increase the likelihood of bloodshed. He told a confere nce in Ankara that, “The United States has pulled the pin on a bomb ready to blow in the region.
At least 30 were injured during clashes between protesters and the Israeli army in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. The military stood ready to send more battalions to the affected areas. They fired tear gas to disperse crowds who burned the President in effigy, torched stacks of tires, and hurled rocks.
In his speech announcing the decision to move the embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, President Trump said he believes this will move the peace process forward. Congress passed the Jerusalem Embassy Act in 1995, but every President since then exercised a waiver to stall the move. Trump said it was time to move forward because issuing the waivers brought us “no closer to a lasting peace.”
Opponents of Trump’s announcement do not want a return to the negotiating table. Hamas leaders called for a new uprising, called an intifada, against Israel, saying the President “opened the gates of hell.” The front page of a pro-Hezbollah in Lebanon featured a burning American flag with the headline “Death to America.”
Authorities believe Friday will be a barometer of how serious the protests could become, with Palestinians meeting on their holy day for weekly prayers.
Publication date: December 7, 2017