7 December 2017

Trump Jerusalem move sparks Israeli-Palestinian clashes


At least 31 Palestinians have been wounded in 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.

One person is in a critical condition.

Mr Trump's announcement - met with worldwide dismay - reversed decades of US policy on the sensitive issue.

Israel deployed hundreds of extra troops in the West Bank as Palestinians went on strike and took to the streets.

Protesters set tyres alight and threw stones, and Israeli troops fired tear gas, rubber bullets and live bullets.

One rocket fired from the Gaza Strip exploded inside southern Israel while others fell short, Israel's army said.

In response, an Israeli tank and an aircraft targeted "two terror posts" in Gaza, the army said without giving further details.

Many of Washington's closest allies have said they disagree with the move, and both the UN Security Council and the Arab League will meet in the coming days to decide their response.

There are fears the announcement could lead to a renewed outbreak of violence. The Palestinian Islamist group Hamas has already called for a new intifada, or uprising.

Why did Trump reverse US policy?

Mr Trump announced the move on Wednesday. The US president said: "I've judged this course of action to be in the best interests of the United States of America and the pursuit of peace between Israel and the Palestinians."

He said he was directing the US state department to begin preparations to move the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

Despite warnings of regional unrest over any such move, the decision fulfils a campaign promise and appeals to Mr Trump's right-wing base.

Recognising Jerusalem as Israel's capital was "nothing more or less than a recognition of reality", he added. "It is also the right thing to do."

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