After 70 years, Donald Trump did on Wednesday what no previous US president has done – recognise Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.
The announcement has sparked anger and protest across the Middle East while being welcomed by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and supporters of Israel.
Leaders in Gaza and the West Bank have called for a strong response, with protests in Jerusalem, the West Bank and Gaza. Israeli soldiers were deployed in anticipation of unrest.
We’ll be bringing you live updates here.
Photo: Protesters shout slogans and wave the Jordanian flag during a protest near the American Embassy in Amman against US President Donald Trump's decision to recognise Jerusalem as the capital of Israel on December 7, 2017. (AFP)
Hello from MEE's US team.
Here are the events that took place in the evening and overnight:
► Tillerson says peace is still possible between the Israelis and Palestinians.
► The Israeli army retaliated after a "projectile" fired from Gaza.
► A senior Palestinian official in President Mahmoud Abbas's ruling Fatah party said US Vice President Mike Pence "is unwelcome in Palestine".
►Brother of Jordanian King criticised US embassy move as "irresponsible".
That's it for the night folks. We will get back with the latest developments tomorrow morning.
Despite embassy move, Tillerson says peace is still possible
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said there "a very good opportunity for peace to be achieved" between the Israelis and Palestinians after Trump's decision to move the US embassy to Jerusalem.
The President is very committed to the Middle East peace process. He has a team that he put in place almost immediately upon entering the White House," Tillerson said.
On December 6, 2017, @POTUS recognized Jerusalem, the ancient capital of the Jewish people, as the capital of the State of Israel; and reaffirmed the United States' commitment to achieving a lasting peace agreement between Israelis and Palestinians. https://t.co/XC6Ybzbtao
— Department of State (@StateDept) December 7, 2017
Israel retaliates against 'projectile' fire from Gaza
A file photo of an Israeli F-15 fighter aircraft (Reuters)
The Israeli army retaliated after a "projectile" fired from Gaza hit its territory Thursday, the army said, blaming Hamas which had called for an intifada after US recognition of Jerusalem as the Israeli capital.
"A short while ago, a projectile was fired from northern Gaza & exploded in southern Israel," the Israel Defence Forces said on its official Twitter account.
"In response to that fire & the projectiles fired at Israel throughout the day that fell short in Gaza, an IDF tank & an IAF (Israeli Air Force) aircraft targeted two terror posts in Gaza."
The military said Hamas was "responsible for the hostile activity perpetrated against Israel from the Gaza Strip" which the Islamist movement controls.
US Vice President Pence 'unwelcome in Palestine': Fatah official
A senior Palestinian official in President Mahmoud Abbas's ruling Fatah party said on Thursday that U.S. Vice President Mike Pence, due to visit the region later this month, "is unwelcome in Palestine".
"In the name of Fatah I say that we will not welcome Trump's deputy in the Palestinian Territories. He asked to meet (Abbas) on the 19th of this month in Bethlehem, such a meeting will not take place," Jibril Rajoub said.
Aides for Abbas were not immediately available for comment.
Here's an evening round-up of the day's events:
► At least 31 people injured in clashes across the West Bank and Gaza during protests against the US embassy move.
► Two rockets were fired from Gaza into Southern Israel.
► Palestinian factions have called for a "Day of Rage" to take place on Friday.
►Protests took place across the Middle East and North Africa.
►Brother of Jordanian King criticised US embassy move as "irresponsible".
We will continue to update the live-blog throughout the night with the latest developments.
Jordanian King's brother calls Trump 'irresponsible and dangerous'
Prince Hamzah bin al-Hussein, a brother to King Abdullah, tweeted that the move was “an exceptionally irresponsible and dangerous step.”
The remarks represent the first time a royal of his generation has criticised US actions, according to one expert.
Israel says two rockets fired from Gaza 'fell short'
The Israeli military said on Thursday that two rockets launched at Israel from the Gaza Strip fell short inside the Palestinian enclave.
There was no initial claim of responsibility from any militant groups in the Gaza Strip for the launchings.
How the Arab media covered Trump's move
From calling America 'the root of evil' to not covering Trump's decision at all, here's a round-up of the front page coverage of four major Arab dailies:
Al-Akhbar: ‘It’s either America . . . or Jerusalem’
“Should the Arabs be aware that America, in short, is the root of all evil?,” writes the Lebanese newspaper which is close to Hezbollah.
“As for Israel, let’s leave it aside. Whatever has been said of Israel's 'power and superiority', is only a result of the American- British colonisers. Israel wouldn't survive a day without the protection, care and support of the West.”
“Today at this moment, those of us Arabs who surrender completely to America under the banner of 'peace', are nothing more than submissive cowards. While the 'free world' watches helplessly in the face of a mad cowboy, we should stand up with dignity and address the root of the problem not its symptoms. We have no choice but to raise our fists and slogans and shout, 'Death to America!”
Asharq Al-Awsat: 'Trump recognises Jerusalem as capital'
In a straightforward news report, Saudi-funded Asharq Al-Awsat wrote that “Trump fulfilled the promise he made in his election campaign and declared officially yesterday his recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel”.
Al-Araby Al-Jadeed: ‘Trump, the second occupation’
The London-based Qatari-funded Al-Araby Al-Jadeed writes: "There is a war on the Palestinian case to undermine the right of return of refugees and the Palestinian state."
But Palestinians have “loads of options” about how they react against Trump’s move.
Al Arab: 'Ahmed Ali in a race against time'
Going in an entirely different editorial direction, the Emirati paper’s front page covered Ahmed Ali Saleh, son of former Yemeni leader Ali Abdullah Saleh who was killed by the Houthis on Monday in Sanaa.
Nasrallah: 'Trump fired the last bullet on the peace process'
Hassan Nasrallah, the secretary-general of Hezbollah, said in a televised speech on Thursday that "Islamic and Christian holy sites in Jerusalem are under threat" after Trump's decision to move the US Embassy from Tel Aviv.
"One day we might wake up and find Al-Aqsa mosque being demolished because of the ongoing Israeli diggings underneath it."
He said that the US administration did not respect its Arab allies when it took this decision, and it did not abide by the international community consensus and UN resolutions regarding Jerusalem.
"Trump fired the last bullet on the peace process and he dared to announce its death," he said.
Palestinian media outlets confirm 'renewed rocket fire' from Gaza
Palestinian-based Al-Quds news network confirmed there has been "renewed" rocket fire from the Gaza Strip towards Israeli residential areas near the Gaza border.
Source: Al Quds News network
Rocket alarms set off in southern Israel near Gaza
Rocket alarms have been set off in southern Israel, near Gaza. Significant in light of recent Trump announcement.
No initial confirmation of any hits in Israel, the military said.
India not swayed by US embassy move
India appears to remain neutral on Jerusalem's status and suggested that it will not change its stance based on America's decision to recognise it as Israel's capital.
“India’s position on Palestine is independent and consistent. It is shaped by our views and interests, and not determined by any third country,” a spokesperson says.
Canada to keep embassy in Tel Aviv
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has confirmed that Canada has no intention of moving its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.
Speaking in China during a visit, he said: “We will not be moving Canada’s embassy from Tel Aviv.”
VIDEO: How both sides responded to US embassy move
A video recap of how leaders from both sides responded to the US embassy move from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.
The leader of Hamas has warned Donald Trump's recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel is 'a declaration of war' pic.twitter.com/eeai4bKbj7
— Middle East Eye (@MiddleEastEye) December 7, 2017
It's not just Trump: Google elevates Jerusalem to capital status
Many users on Twitter have noticed that Google search returns Jerusalem as the capital of Israel – with several pointing out it happened before the Trump announcement.
Google is ahead of Trump's decision and declare that Jerusalem is the capital of Israel😬😬. They will not change history or break the palestinian determination . Jerusalem is to the palestinian only ✌✌ #القدس_عاصمة_فلسطين_الأبديه pic.twitter.com/JSFSiVD9Sg
— Aroob Al_Saqqa (@AroobSaqqa) December 6, 2017
It’s here on search…
Back in 2016, we ran a piece on how Google sparked an outcry after reports emerged that it had allegedly removed Palestine from its maps.
If you look closely at the map we used then, you’ll see that Jerusalem is marked as a dot inside a circle, on a par with Middle East capital cities including Damascus, Beirut and Amman. Tel Aviv, in contrast, where foreign embassies are based, only gets a white circle - which puts it on a par with Haifa.
What next for Jerusalem?
Jerusalem resident and MEE Correspondent Mustafa Abu Sneineh gives his take on what next for his hometown as tensions continue to rise:
Today's protests are reminiscent of the demonstrations that took place in the summer after Israel imposed metal detectors on the gates of Al-Haram Al-Shareef and Al-Aqsa mosque.
But the scale and the spread of today's protests is wider. Even in Ramallah, the Palestinian Authority allowed a march to the headquarters of the Israeli Civil Administration in the Beit El settlement.
The PA attitude towards such protests was to crush it by its US-trained security forces. This happened during the Gaza War in 2014 and similarly done during the July 2017 Al-Aqsa protests.
The Palestinian official politicians find themselves out of words today after almost 24 years of negotiations.
On the ground, an informal political leadership is emerging that consists of community workers, ulema, intellectuals, political prisoners, vloggers and grassroots activists.
This leadership is scattered and unorganised which makes it harder to control and predict its reactions to the US embassy move.
It is too early to tell what will happen on Friday, which will be the 30th anniversary of the first intifada. But Palestinians have now found a new model of resisting the Israeli occupation which has gained its inspiration from the Arab Spring, the BDS movement and the protests at Al-Aqsa.
You can follow Mustafa here on Twitter...
31 injured across West Bank and Gaza during clashes
At least 31 people have been injured across the West Bank and Gaza during clashes between Palestinian protesters and Israeli soldiers.
Here's a breakdown of the injuries in different cities:
►Nine people injured in Ramallah
►Seven people injured in Bethlehem, five of them choked from tear-gas
►11 people injured in Tulkarem City
►Four people injured in Khan Younis, Gaza
Sources: Palestinian health ministry and Red Crescent
'Israel knows that, in the end, it can do what it wants'
Meron Rapoport, Middle East Eye contributor and former head of news at Haaertz, tells MEE that Trump’s decision to move the US Embassy to Jerusalem is good for the Palestinians because it will put the Israeli-Palestinian conflict back on the international agenda.
Here are some more of his thoughts:
- The majority of Israelis don’t see the declaration as an end to the two-state solution largely because, for them, it is "clear and obvious" that Jerusalem is the capital of Israel
- It is wrong for Israel to think that the entire international community holds the same opinions as Donald Trump - even though, as US president, he is currently the “leader of the free world”
- Trump's decision will, however, embolden the motives of settlers as well as those on the right of Israeli politics. They will now do what they want, without worrying about what the international community does and thinks about Israeli actions and interests. “It doesn’t matter if Europe, the UN Security Council and everyone else rejects Israel’s plans," he said. "Israel knows that, in the end, it can do what it wants, even if it takes 20 years.”
Trump's Jerusalem decision: Where we're at
If you’ve just joined our developing coverage of the aftermath of Donald Trump’s announcement on Wednesday, this is a brief recap
- Hamas has called for a fresh intifada
- Palestinian protests have broken out in Ramallah, Nablus, Hebron, Gaza City and Tubas
- At least five people have been reported injured in Bethlehem and three in Khan Younis
- In Jerusalem itself, Palestinians were barred from entering the Old City by Israeli security forces
- International condemnation has continued, with protesters taking to the streets in Tunisia and Turkey among others
- The UN Security Council has decided to meet on Friday
- Hassan Nasrallah, secretary-general of Hezbollah, is due speak at 16:00 GMT
- Elsewhere, French President Emmanuel Macron is in Qatar while German Chancellor Angela Merkel is hosting Libyan Prime Minister Fayez al-Sarraj in Berlin
- Foreign ministers of the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe are gathered in Vienna
Palestinian refugees in Yarmouk Camp protest US embassy move
Hundreds of Palestinian children in the Yarmouk refugee camp in Syria staged protests against the US decision to move its embassy to Jerusalem.
Children can be seen carrying placards that say "Jerusalem is Arab and Muslim" and "Oh Jerusalem will be our legacy" and marching through the camp on Thursday.
— مجموعة العمل- AGPS (@actgroup_pal) December 7, 2017
During the Syrian civil war, Yarmouk has been a major flashpoint between different Palestinian factions. It has also been besieged by the Syrian army.
Turkey says US 'pulled the pin on bomb' with embassy move
Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim said that the US had "pulled the pin on a bomb ready to blow in the region" with its plans to move its embassy to Jerusalem.
"Today, more than 80 percent of our citizens are cold towards the United States and they are right to be so," Yildirim said, without giving a source for the figure.
VIDEO: Palestinians protest outside Old City in East Jerusalem
Palestinians were barred from entering the Old City after they amassed to protest against plans to move the US embassy to Jerusalem.
The protests took place amid heavy security as clashes continued across the West Bank.
Palestinians in Jerusalem have begun protesting Donald Trump's declaration of their city as the capital of Israel pic.twitter.com/0rAnmgn4EB
— Middle East Eye (@MiddleEastEye) December 7, 2017
Tunisia: Hundreds march for Jerusalem
Trump's decision to move the US embassy to Jerusalem has prompted protests in Tunisia, where protesters marched on Thursday in the city of Sfax carrying Palestinian flags.
An emergency meeting was held in the Tunisian parliament, where MPs raised the Palestinian and Tunisian flags and chanted "The people want to liberate Palestine". It's a cry reminiscent of Tunisia's Arab Spring in 2011, when protesters shouted "The people want to overthrow the regime".
🇹🇳 صفاقس تحتج من أجل القدس المحتلة pic.twitter.com/mscBfj6Dng
— Habib (@hadjsassih) December 7, 2017
Translation: Sfax protests for the occupied Jerusalem.
— أحمد البقري (@AhmedElbaqry) December 7, 2017
Translation: An emergency meeting in the Tunisian parliament over Trump's decision. Some MPs chanting 'the people want to liberate Palestine'
Turkey attacks Trump's Jerusalem decision
From mainstream to fringe political parties, Turkey has united in condemnation of US President Donald Trump’s decision on Wednesday to relocate the US embassy in Israel to Jerusalem and recognise the city as the state’s capital.
The Turkish Communist Party (TKP) became the latest to rally for Palestine, calling the US move the latest provocative decision that would not gain traction with the peoples of the world. It went on to say the only way for Jerusalem to become a city of peace was through socialism.
— TKP (@tkpninsesi) December 7, 2017
Apart from a joint statement by the political parties in the Turkish parliament slamming Trump’s statement and official criticism of the move by the Turkish government, Kemal Kilicdaroglu, the leader of the secular Republican People’s Party (CHP) also condemned the move during a visit to London and said his party would never accept Trump’s decision.
“Everyone who cares about peace and the Middle East has been deeply hurt [by Trump’s move]. How can you plant such a bomb in a place where so much bloodshed, pain and tears already prevail? It is Palestinian blood spilled on those lands; Palestinians who pay the price.”
Meanwhile the Anadolu Agency reported that President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has discussed the issue with several leaders, including Iran, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Qatar, Malaysia, Tunisia and Sudan.
Earlier he lashed out at Trump's decision, saying it would put the region in a "ring of fire", adding: "Taking this type of step puts the world, especially the region, in a ring of fire. Hey, Trump, what do you want to do? What kind of approach is this? Political leaders do not stir things up, they seek to make peace.”
UK government called to take on 'bully' Trump
The UK government has been asked to stop "bending over backwards" for US President Donald Trump.
During an UK parliamentary emergency debate on the US Embassy move to Jerusalem, Shadow Foreign Secretary Emily Thornberry described Trump's decision as a "hammer blow" to peace efforts in the Middle East.
"The sheer recklessness of that decision needs no debate," she said. "Donald Trump is not crying fire in a crowded theatre. He is deliberately setting fire to the theatre and then he has the unbelievable cheek to say he is moving forward the peace process when in reality, he is setting back decades."
Israeli park to be named in honour of Donald Trump
Kiryat Yam, a city in northern Israel, has decided to name its main park after US President Donald Trump following his decision to recognise Jerusalem as the state's capital, according to the Israeli-based GLZ Radio.
בעקבות ההחלטה להכיר בירושלים כבירת ישראל: הפארק המרכזי החדש של קריית ים יקרא על שמו של דונלד טראמפ@nirshved
— גלצ (@GLZRadio) December 7, 2017
Translation: Following the decision to recognise Jerusalem as the capital of Israel: the new Central Park of Kiryat Yam will be named after Donald Trump
Jerusalemites feel 'betrayed' by America
MEE Correspondent Lubna Masarwa is on the ground in Jerusalem.
She's speaking to Palestinians who are protesting outside the Old City in East Jerusalem.
Dauod, 27, who lives in the Old City, told MEE he felt "betrayed by the Arab nations and the whole world".
"England promised our land Palestine to the Jewish people and America gave Jerusalem to Israel," said Daoud.
"We don't rely on anyone even our leadership. It's on us, the Palestinian people to not be silent on all of this. We will lead the struggle. You saw that in the crises of the Aqsa last summer and you will see what will happen now."
Five Palestinians hospitalised in Bethlehem during clashes
Five people have been taken to hospital after they were injured during clashes in Bethlehem, according to MEE correspondent Yumna Patel, who was on the scene.
Several rounds of tear-gas have also been fired by the Israeli army in a bid to disperse peaceful protesters.
The list of the injured so far:
- Three injured by rubber-coated steel bullets
- Two unconscious from tear-gas inhalation