Donald Trump expected some fallout after he unilaterally deemed Jerusalem the capitol of Israel and announced plans to move a new U.S. Embassy there. He sent out documents preparing Europe and the Israelis for the threats he anticipated, but one outcome flew completely over his head.
The area erupted in violence after the U.S. president ignored the warnings of both friends and adversaries, ranging from Russia to France and from China to Jordan. Three different religions consider Jerusalem their holiest site: Muslims, Jews, and Christians.
A senior Palestinian official, Jibril Rajoub said that Vice President Mike Pence was not welcome in the Palestinian territories, after Trump recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. He also called for other Arab leaders to refuse Pence according to the Associated Press (AP):
‘We will not receive him in the Palestinian territories.’
The vice president had planned a trip to Israel and the West Bank city of Bethlehem later in December He has been calling for the president to move the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem for as long as he has been office. Rajoub’s remarks mean that the West Bank leg of his trip remains uncertain.
Palestinians have appealed to the United Nations (U.N.) Security Council to demand that Trump rescind his resolution to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s true capitol. Palestinian Charge d-Affaires Feda Abdelhady-Nasser wrote a letter to the U.N. citing Trump’s announcement, saying it violates multiple resolutions and could set off “a never-ending religious war.”
Abdelhady-Nasser asked the Security Council to send “a clear message” about the applicable laws and resolutions and “opposing this unilateral and provocative decision.” She offered this warning, the AP reported:
‘These fundamental legal, political and religious dimensions of the question of Jerusalem can only aggravate already heightened tensions. (Trump’s declaration could cause) exacerbation of religious sensitivities that risk transforming this solvable political-territorial conflict into a never-ending religious war, which will only be exploited by religious extremists, fueling radicalism and strife in the region and beyond.’
The Hamas leader, Ismail Haniyeh, called on Palestinians to set off a new uprising against their neighbor, now that Trump has declared Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.
Hezbollah’s leader Hassan Nasrallah urged Arab and Muslim nations put pressure upon the U.S. for Trump to reverse his decision. He called for all Mideast negotiations to cease until the U.S. president does so. He said Trump’s actions were:
‘(An) undisguised American aggression (against Palestinians).’
The Israeli government said that the Palestinians launched one projectile that exploded in southern Israel, and two others launched from Gaza fell short of their targets and landed in Palestinian territory. In response, the Israelis fired into the Gaza Strip.
The Israeli military indicated that one of its tanks and an aircraft hit two Gaza military posts. Israel holds Hamas responsible for any military action originating from the Gaza Strip.
Japan’s Ambassador Koro Bessho said that eight members in the U.N. Security Council opposed Trump’s move and requested the emergency meeting. He explained that an open session would follow the initial scheduled briefings. According to the AP:
‘Bolivia, Egypt, France, Italy, Senegal, Sweden, United Kingdom, and Uruguay — requested that Secretary-General Antonio Guterres brief the 15-member council.’
U.N. deputy spokesman Farhan Haq said U.N. Mideast envoy, Nikolay Mladenov, is “the lead expert on the ground.” He will attend the meeting via video conference.
Featured Image via Getty Images/Chip Somodevilla.