Global protests after Trump recognises Jerusalem as Israel's capital



Palestinians switched off Christmas lights at Jesus' traditional birthplace in Bethlehem on Wednesday night in protest at U.S. President Donald Trump's decision to recognise Jerusalem as Israel's capital.

The status of Jerusalem - home to sites holy to the Muslim, Jewish and Christian religions - is one of the thorniest obstacles to reaching a peace deal between Israel and the Palestinians.

In Australia, curious tourists are often shocked to find Sydney is not actually the capital city, and usually told the inland city of Canberra was built as the "bush capital" as a compromise somewhere between Australia's largest city and its competitor to the south, Melbourne. Sage Colleges professor, Dr. Steven Leibo, breaks it all down.

"He cannot expect to side entirely with Israel on the most sensitive and complex issues in the process, and yet expect the Palestinians to see the United States as an honest broker", said former US ambassador to Israel Daniel Kurtzer.

Freeland's parliamentary secretary suggested a "wait and see" approach to the outcome of Trump's pronouncement.

Many Israelis interpreted the president's decision on Jerusalem as simply long-overdue acknowledgment of the status quo. The officials declined to describe Kushner and Greenblatt's own advice to Trump.

Gov. Rick Scott, who currently is Israel for a trade mission, filmed a video message Wednesday in front of the Western Wall. His move "will yield increased hatred, conflict, violence and suffering in Jerusalem and the Holy Land, moving us farther from the goal of unity and deeper toward destructive division", they said.

Pence argued in the meeting it was past time for the recognize the 70-year reality that Jerusalem is the country's center of government. "The decision, which preceded any results of the final status negotiations, fuels outrage and provokes the feelings of the Muslims and Christians across the Arab and Islamic world", he said. "Jerusalem has been the capital of the Jewish people for 3,000 years".

"President Trump is now taking sides", Burns said.

Ismail Haniyeh, chief of Hamas movement said the US decision will not change the facts of history and geography. One of them, though, acknowledged short-term tensions and expressed frustration about international criticism of the announcement even before the details were known.

His incendiary speech was met with protests and threats from terror group Hamas, who have called for "two days of rage" on Thursday and Friday. "He destroyed the two-state solution", Saeb Erekat, who long served as the Palestinians top negotiator, told journalists.

Abbas clearly stated that the declaration represents a withdrawal of US role in sponsoring the peace process, adding that the move encourages Israel "to pursue the policy of occupation, settlement and ethnic cleansing".

Shortly after Trump's announcement, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas condemned and rejected the US decision in a speech aired live on the official Palestinian Television, saying the declaration will not give any legitimacy to Israel in this matter.

Hamas said Trump's decision would "open the gates of hell" on US interests in the region. But Trump's announcement on Jerusalem threatens to scotch the fledgling effort.

"Canada is a steadfast ally and friend of Israel and friend to the Palestinian people", said Adam Austen, a spokesman for Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland.

"He (the Antichrist) marches into Jerusalem and goes into the rebuilt temple, which will have been rebuilt during the first three and a half years of the tribulation, and declares himself to be God". Israeli security forces are said to be bracing for unrest in Jerusalem and the occupied West Bank whilst, US embassies throughout the Muslim world have also been warned to prepare for protests.

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