National News

Triangle Palestinians, Jews worry Trump's Jerusalem announcement could spark violence

Posted December 6, 2017 6:15 p.m. EST
Updated July 13, 2018 2:06 p.m. EDT

— President Donald Trump shattered decades of United States neutrality on Jerusalem Wednesday, declaring the sorely divided holy city as Israel's capital and sparking frustrated Palestinians to cry out that he had destroyed already-fragile hopes for peace in the Middle East.

The impact of Trump's announcement was already being felt Wednesday evening in the Triangle.

A local Palestinian leader told WRAL News his group is planning protests, as the City of Jerusalem has enormous religious significance for Palestinians and Israelis.

Feras Abdelquader says Trump's recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital will likely bring about violence.

Abdelquader said he feels robbed of the city he and his people love.

"Obviously we condemn any type of violence, but at the same time, when you're destroying people's home and taking people's country away and taking something they've struggled with for many years, a lot of people are very passionate about that,” Abdelquader said.

A local rabbi said Trump's announcement puts some Jews in a tough spot. Daniel Greyber, with Beth El Synagogue in Durham, said having both the claim to Jerusalem and peace with the Palestinians will be tough.

"I am extremely concerned," Greyber said. "The Jewish people's connection to Jerusalem is a key part of our faith, and so is our commitment to peace."

Duke Professor and Middle East expert Bruce Jentleson worries about violence, too.

"I think it's likely we're going to see violence," he said. "Not just in Israel and the Palestinian areas, it could be around the world."

Some of that has already started in Palestine. He also worries that America's image overseas is forever changed.

"To take an issue that's supposed to be solved through negotiations and to side with one party, on a very sensitive issue, really undermines your credibility as someone who can move the negotiations forward," Jentleson said.