World News

Trump's Jerusalem move: Deadly clashes erupt after Friday prayers

Posted December 7, 2017 9:00 p.m. EST
Updated December 8, 2017 10:45 a.m. EST

— Palestinian protesters and Israeli security forces clashed Friday in Jerusalem and the West Bank amid heightened tensions in the region and elsewhere over US President Donald Trump's decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.

One man, a 30-year-old Palestinian, was shot and killed during clashes in eastern Gaza, Palestinian Authority's Ministry of Health said, with more than 200 people injured across the West Bank, Gaza and Jerusalem, 50 of whom needed hospital treatment.

Most of the injuries were minor, the ministry said, adding that they were caused by bullets, rubber bullets, tear gas and asphyxiation.

An Israeli army statement said what it called violent riots had broken out in about 30 locations Friday afternoon across the West Bank and Gaza.

About 3,000 protesters have been involved in the West Bank unrest, it said, with six people arrested and about 10 injured.

In Gaza, hundreds of people have been rioting at six locations along the border with Israel, the army said, with protesters rolling burning tires and throwing rocks at Israel Defense Forces (IDF) soldiers.

"IDF soldiers are responding with riot dispersal means. During the riots IDF soldiers fired selectively towards two main instigators and hits were confirmed," the statement said.

In the West Bank town of Bethlehem, a CNN team saw Israeli soldiers fire rubber bullets and tear gas while Palestinian protesters threw rocks, marbles and Molotov cocktails.

Tires burned, sending up thick black smoke, in a town which would normally be busy with tourists in the run-up to Christmas.

Brief scuffles broke out by the Damascus Gate entrance to Jerusalem's Old City, where protesters chanted slogans and held Palestinian flags aloft.

Extra police units have been mobilized in Jerusalem and the Old City, Israeli police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld tweeted Friday. No incident occurred inside the al-Aqsa Mosque compound during Friday prayers but security measures continue around the city, he said.

Violent protests and international condemnation had already followed Trump's move Wednesday, when he also committed to moving the US embassy to the holy city.

Both Palestinians and Israelis claim Jerusalem as their capital.

Some Palestinian factions called for three "days of rage" to protest the decision, which culminates Friday. At least 49 people were injured Thursday during protests over Trump's decision, the Palestinian Red Crescent said.

Thirteen Palestinians were arrested overnight Thursday into Friday morning in Jerusalem, according to the Palestinian Prisoners' Club, a non-governmental organization that provides legal aid to Palestinians arrested by Israeli authorities.

Protests in Jordan, Turkey, Malaysia

Trump's move has roiled Muslims around the world and was expected to loom large as they headed to prayers on Friday, Islam's holy day.

The governments of Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Pakistan, Malaysia and Indonesia are among those to speak out against Trump's decision. A number of Western allies have also been critical.

Big crowds marched through the streets of Amman, Jordan, in a show of opposition to Trump's move. Jordan is a key US ally in the region.

A protest march also set off from Istanbul's Fatih Mosque after Friday prayers. Demonstrators waved Palestinian and Turkish flags, as well as banners proclaiming solidarity with the Palestinians.

Dogukan Sevinc, a municipal worker attending the rally, told CNN the protesters were not against anyone but were "defending Muslim rights" in the wake of the US decision. "They don't respect anyone -- they care just about Jews and Christians. The world is not just Jews and Christians," he said.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan will receive Russian President Vladimir Putin in Ankara on Monday to discuss "the recent developments in Jerusalem and the situation in Syria," Erdogan's office said Friday.

Police in the Malaysian capital, Kuala Lumpur, said an estimated 5,000 protesters gathered outside the US embassy after Friday prayers. They dispersed peacefully by 3 p.m. local time.

The Indonesian capital of Jakarta also saw protesters gather near the US embassy. Demonstrators held a banner that said "Trump is enemy of humanity."

Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) said in a statement the country's citizens should take part in Friday protests, according to Iran's official news agency IRNA. "It is vital that that the Muslim world and all other freedom-seeking nations across the globe thwart this evil plot," the statement said.

The UN Security Council will discuss Trump's move on Friday.

Tillerson: Embassy move not imminent

Speaking in Paris, US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said Friday that moving the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem "is not something that will happen this year, probably not next year."

Tillerson said that Trump had ordered the State Department to "start the process of making the move" but that it would take time. It still needed to acquire a site, make construction plans, ensure necessary authorizations, and then start building the embassy itself.

He also said that Trump's decision did not "indicate any final status for Jerusalem," adding that the "final status would be left to the parties to negotiate and decide."

A spokesman for Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas cast doubt Friday on whether he will receive US Vice President Mike Pence during a planned visit to the region later this month.

Speaking to broadcaster Aljazeera, spokesman Nabil Abu Rudeineh said: "Jerusalem is more important than Mike Pence -- we will not abandon Jerusalem just to receive Mike Pence."

Abu Rudeineh stopped short, however, of confirming that Abbas would not receive Pence.

Jibril Rajoub, who has been floated as a possible successor to Abbas, told CNN on Thursday that Pence -- who used the phrase an "eternal undivided Jerusalem" in a campaign advertisement last year -- is not welcome in the Palestinian territories.

Ismail Haniyeh, the leader of the Palestinian Islamist group Hamas that controls Gaza, called for a new "intifada," or uprising, on Thursday. He also described the US-Israeli alliance as "satanic."

The first two intifadas were periods of Palestinian uprisings against Israeli rule. The second began in September 2000 and was particularly violent, with rocket attacks and suicide bombings targeting civilians and military operations by Israeli security forces.

Nearly 3,000 Palestinians and 1,000 Israelis died between 2000 and 2005 during the second intifada.

'Recognition of reality'

The Trump administration cast the step as a "recognition of reality" that Jerusalem has long been the seat of the Israeli government. For Trump, the embassy move also fulfilled an election campaign promise.

But the decision was met with skepticism by some of Trump's international peers, who are concerned it could be the final nail in the coffin of the two-state solution and could provide recruiting fodder to radicals.

The United Nations partition plan drawn up in 1947 envisioned Jerusalem as an "international city."

During the Six-Day War in 1967, Israel took control the eastern part of Jerusalem from Jordan and later annexed it. Israel still holds the land, which much of the world now considers occupied territory. Palestinians say that any eventual two-state solution should include the return of East Jerusalem, which would serve as the new country's capital.