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‘Death to America’

Violent protests break out in Bethlehem and Turkey warns Trump has ‘pulled the pin on a bomb’ after the president recognises Jerusalem as Israel’s capital

  (News Agencies) Violent protests have broken out in Bethlehem today after US President Donald Trump enraged the Middle East by recognising Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.
Palestinians torched debris and hurled rocks towards Israeli troops who fired tear gas and water cannons to disperse a demonstration in the town. Rallies are also underway in the West Bank cities of Hebron, Ramallah, Nablus and Jenin.
It comes after Trump sparked fury with his White House announcement yesterday, which changed decades of American policy and sparked warnings from Hamas of a new intifada, or uprising, against Israel.
Amid growing fears of fresh bloodshed in the region, the Islamist group said the President had ‘opened the gates of hell’ with his ‘flagrant aggression’ while a pro-Hezbollah newspaper in Lebanon has declared ‘Death to America’ on a front page showing a burning US flag.
This morning, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan accused Trump of throwing the Middle East into a ‘ring of fire’ and compared him to a ‘blender’ stirring up trouble in the area. The Country’s Prime Minister Binali Yildirim said the US ‘has pulled the pin on a bomb ready to blow in the region.’
Russia said today that it viewed Trump’s move with ‘serious concern’ and will criticise the new stance at the UN Security Council. Britain’s Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson described the new stance as ‘not helpful’ while France rejected the ‘unilateral’ decision and Germany said Jerusalem’s status could only be resolved on the basis of a two-state solution.
But Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Trump had ‘bound himself forever’ to the history of Jerusalem with his announcement and claimed other states are now considering following the U.S. lead.
As spontaneous protests broke out in Gaza overnight, the Israeli military said it would deploy several battalions to the West Bank ahead of Friday, while other troops have been put on alert to address ‘possible developments.’
Netanyahu said that ‘we are already in contact with other states that will make a similar recognition.’
He says the ‘time has come’ and expressed confidence that others will follow suit and move their embassies to Jerusalem.
Last night, he hailed the move as ‘historic’ and said any peace deal with the Palestinians must concede that Jerusalem is Israel’s capital.
Meanwhile, the Israeli military said it will be deploying additional troops to the West Bank ahead of Friday, when mass Palestinian protests are anticipated in response to Trump’s move.
The army statement on Thursday says it will deploy several battalions to the territory while other troops have been put on alert to address ‘possible developments.’
Palestinians went on strike across the West Bank, east Jerusalem and Gaza Strip on Thursday and protests are expected on Friday after midday prayers.
This morning, two senior White House officials admitted Trump’s move could temporarily derail the Israeli-Palestinian peace process.
According to CNN, one of the unnamed sources said the President’s peace team had not spoken to angry Palestinian officials since the announcement but that they were ‘pretty sure’ that ‘derailment’ of the peace process would be ‘temporary’.
One official said: ‘A lot of people put their heads into this decision to see how do we make this happen without at the same time throwing the peace process out of the window,’
The second added: ‘In terms of a moment where it could happen, where it could be the least disruptive at a moment in time, this is the moment. We know there will be some short term pain, but think it will help in the long run.’




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