Tel Aviv, Dec 8: Violent clashes between Israel authorities and Palestinians broke out on Thursday clashes in the Gaza Strip and across the occupied West Bank during protests against US President Donald Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. At least 31 Palestinians were injured in clashes. Meanwhile, several former US ambassadors to Israel disagreed with Trump’s decision. Trump announced on Wednesday the recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and his intention of moving the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.
Palestinian protesters clashed with Israeli soldiers in Ramallah and other places in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. Hundreds of Israeli troops were deployed in West Bank after Palestinians took to the streets. Protesters set tyres alight and threw stones, and Israeli troops fired tear gas, rubber bullets and live bullets, reports BBC. Two rockets were fired from the Gaza Strip, said Israeli Defense Forces (IDF). In retaliation, an Israeli tank and an aircraft targeted two military posts in the Gaza Strip.
Speaking to New York Times, 9 out of 11 former US envoys to Israel termed Donald Trump’s Jerusalem move as wrongheaded, dangerous or deeply flawed. Even those who approved Trump’s move disagreed with his approach — making a major diplomatic concession without any evident gain in return.
Daniel C. Kurtzer, who was the ambassador to Israel from 2001 to 2005, under President George W. Bush, said Trump’s move left the US isolated at the international level. “There are many downsides, both diplomatically and in terms of the Middle East peace process, and no upside. We are isolated internationally once again — except for the Israeli government, which supports this — and we are taking ourselves out of the role the president says he wants to play as a peace broker,” Kurtzer was quoted as saying.
Another former diplomat Richard H. Jones, who was the ambassador from 2005 to 2009, also under Bush, warned that groups like Hamas and the ISIS would exploit the issue to incite violence. “This is a risky move, which no doubt will cost lives in Israel and the region, particularly as Israeli settlers use it to justify accelerating their activity further,” he said in an email to New York Times.
William Caldwell Harrop, who was the ambassador from 1992 to 1993, called Trump’s Jerusalem decision “slightly reckless” and even “kind of a masochistic move” that might “undermine his own, repeatedly discussed, ‘great deal’ of bringing peace to the Israelis and Palestinians.”
Donald Trump’s decision to recognise Jerusalem as Israel’s capital decision was met with global dismay, drawing criticism from Saudi Arabia, Iran, Pakistan, Egypt, Turkey, Malaysia, Indonesia and more. Western allies of the US such as Britain, Germany, Canada and France refused to side with Washington. China and Russia too expressed displeasure. However, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu hailed the decision, calling it “an important step towards peace”.
The UN Security Council will discuss the issue on Friday after eight of the 15 nations called for an emergency session. The Arab League will meet on Saturday.