Al-Jazeerah: Cross-Cultural Understanding
News, December 2017
Worldwide Protests Against Trump's Provocation of Recognizing the Palestinian City of Jerusalem as Israel's Capital
December 11, 2017
Thousands rally in Nigeria against US Jerusalem move, Protesters call for diplomatic boycott of Israel
By Rafiu Ajakaye
LAGOS, Nigeria --
No fewer than three thousand Nigerian Muslims on Sunday staged a rally in the commercial capital city of Lagos to reject U.S. Donald Trump's decision to recognize of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.
The protest, called by three major Muslim organizations, also urged world leaders to form a united front to confront the “unilateral and counterproductive” declaration as well as hold the US leader responsible for the violence that has broken out in the region.
On Wednesday, U.S. President Donald Trump announced the U.S.’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s “undivided” capital and said the U.S. Embassy would relocate from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.
The dramatic shift in Washington’s Jerusalem policy triggered demonstrations in the occupied Palestinian territories, Turkey, Egypt, Jordan, Tunisia, Algeria, Iraq and other Muslim countries.
Jerusalem remains at the heart of the Israel-Palestine conflict, with Palestinians hoping that East Jerusalem -- now occupied by Israel -- might eventually serve as the capital of a future Palestinian state.
“The unilateral declaration is a threat to world peace and we urge a united global action to stop it,” Lukman AbdurRaheem, president of the influential Muslim Congress (TMC), said at the rally.
Displaying placards condemning the development, the protesters also called on the Nigerian leader Muhammadu Buhari to break his silence over the 'glaring injustice' done to the Palestinians and the Muslim world.
They also urged local Christian leaders to get off the "erroneous belief" that Trump's action served any Christian agenda.
Abdul Waheed Adetoyebi, head of Muslim Awareness International, called on world leaders to boycott the U.S. and Israel in a bid to force them to reverse the policy.
“We welcome Turkey and Lebanon’s suggestion of a diplomatic boycott of Israel over this unfortunate course of action, and we strongly encourage other Arab and Muslim nations to follow suit,” Adetoyebi added.
Saheed Ashafa, president of Muslim Students Society of Nigeria in Lagos, said Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israeli capital was a slap on the Muslim world and lovers of justice.
“The issue is not about religion only, but also about humanity and peaceful coexistence,” Ashafa added.
Thousands in Indonesia take to Jakarta streets to protest Trump's decision on Jerusalem
The Straits Times, December 10, 2017
Francis Chan, JAKARTA -
More protesters in Indonesia took to the streets in downtown Jakarta on Sunday (Dec 10), to rally against United States President Donald Trump's decision to recognise Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.
About 6,000 protesters gathered outside the American embassy in Jakarta, police spokesman Argo Yuwono said.
The group is led by Prosperous Justice Party's (PKS) secretary-general Mustafa Kamal, and the party's president, Mr Sohibul Iman.
The PKS is an Islamic political party that is part of the opposition coalition in Indonesia.
"We are here to show that we disagree, and are against (Trump's decision to recognise Jerusalem as Israel's capital) and we believe the majority of the world's people are opposed to what Donald Trump claims," Mr Sohibul told Detik news.
A separate group comprising activists from Masyarakat Relawan Indonesia, or the Indonesia Volunteer Society, has gathered at the Hotel Indonesia roundabout, the heart of the main thoroughfare in Central Jakarta that is closed every Sunday for Car-Free-Day.
The protesters, mostly dressed in traditional Arabic clothing known as jubah, were seen waving Indonesian and Palestinian flags, as well as carrying placards with slogans such as "Free Palestine", or "Kita Bersama Palestina", which means "We are together with Palestine".
Israel had captured East Jerusalem in the 1967 Six-Day War and declared the entire city as its capital in 1980, a move that was condemned by the international community till this day.
Many countries continue to call for a two-state solution, with East Jerusalem as the capital of an independent Palestinian state.
The two rallies in Jakarta were significantly larger than the turnout on Friday afternoon when the first such protest was held at the US mission in Jakarta.
Protesters in Indonesia have joined the chorus of thousands across Muslim-majority cities in Asia, including in Malaysia, Bangladesh and Pakistan, to condemn the controversial decision by the White House to reverse a longstanding US policy and raise the status of Jerusalem.
Many world leaders have said that Mr Trump's decision could have grave repercussions for security and stability, as well as derail counter-terrorism efforts.
The Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) has said it "deeply regrets" Mr Trump's move to formally recognise Jerusalem and his plan to relocate the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.
The group comprising 57 member states has said it stands by its position that Jerusalem is an integral part of Palestinian territory that has been occupied by Israel since 1967.
It has since called for an extraordinary summit to be held in Istanbul from Dec 12 to 13, and both Indonesian President Joko Widodo and Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak have said they will be attending the OIC meeting.
Indonesia, the world's largest Muslim-majority country, has been a longstanding supporter for Palestinian independence.
New protests flare over Trump's Jerusalem declaration, Middle East
The Straits Times, December 10, 2017
JERUSALEM (AFP) -
New protests flared in the Middle East and elsewhere Sunday (Dec 10) over US President Donald Trump's declaration of Jerusalem as Israel's capital, a move that has drawn global condemnation and sparked days of unrest in the Palestinian territories.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who has repeatedly warned of the consequences of Trump's move, also lashed out by calling Israel a "terrorist state" that "kills children".
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, speaking at a press conference with French President Emmanuel Macron in Paris, hit back, calling Erdogan a leader who "bombs Kurdish villagers" and "helps terrorists".
Trump's announcement on Wednesday (Dec 6) has been followed by days of protests and clashes in the Palestinian territories. Four Palestinians were killed either in clashes or by Israeli air strikes in retaliation for rockets fired from the Gaza Strip.
On Sunday, a Palestinian stabbed an Israeli security guard at Jerusalem's central bus station, leaving him in a serious condition. The Palestinian was arrested.
Tens of thousands have also protested in Muslim and Arab countries, including Jordan, Turkey, Pakistan and Malaysia.
Further protests were held in countries including Lebanon, Indonesia, Egypt and Morocco as well as the Palestinian territories on Sunday.
Lebanese security forces fired tear gas and water cannons at several hundred demonstrators near the American embassy.
Tens of thousands rallied in Morocco's capital Rabat, many waving Palestinian flags.
Protests in Cairo, Jakarta
In Jakarta, some 5,000 Indonesians protested in solidarity with the Palestinians, gathering outside the US embassy in the world's most-populous Muslim country.
Students and professors in Cairo demonstrated at the prestigious Al-Azhar University, a university spokesman said, with pictures on social media showing several hundred protesters. Dozens of students protested at two other Cairo universities.
Palestinian protests on Sunday were smaller than in previous days.
Protests and clashes broke out in Al-Arroub refugee camp in the south of the occupied West Bank, leaving one Palestinian wounded by rubber bullets, the Palestinian health ministry said.
A few dozen Palestinians in Bethlehem, also in the West Bank, burned tyres and threw stones at Israeli soldiers, who fired tear gas.
Separately, the Israeli military said it destroyed a Hamas tunnel stretching from the Gaza Strip into Israeli territory - an incident unrelated to the recent unrest, but which threatened to further increase tensions.
Such tunnels have been used in the past to carry out attacks.
Trump's declaration has been followed by near universal condemnation and diplomatic fallout, with warnings it risks setting off a new round of violence in the turbulent Middle East.
US Vice President Mike Pence is due to visit the region later this month, but Palestinian officials say president Mahmud Abbas will refuse to meet him.
Arab League foreign ministers on Saturday called on Washington to rescind the decision.
Despite the outrage, Trump's UN Ambassador Nikki Haley insisted Sunday that the Jerusalem declaration would "move the ball forward" on peace efforts.
Netanyahu heads to Europe
Netanyahu's Europe trip was long planned, but came after both Macron and EU diplomatic chief Federica Mogherini criticised Trump's decision.
There have also been ongoing tensions between Netanyahu and EU officials over Israeli settlement building in the West Bank.
Macron called on the Israeli leader to freeze settlement building during their talks Sunday and to show "courage" to help restart peace efforts.
Speaking at their press conference, Netanyahu again lauded Trump's Jerusalem recognition and called the White House's bid to restart peace efforts with the Palestinians a "serious effort".
He welcomed Macron's condemnation of attacks against Israel after on Saturday criticising European "hypocrisy" over condemnation of Trump's declaration, saying rockets from Gaza should also be criticised.
Muslims all over the world took to the streets to voice their outrage over US President Donald Trump recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.
Sputnik/ J. Kargyar, December 8, 2017
The US president's decision to officially recognize the city of Jerusalem as the Israeli capital sent ripples across the Muslim world, with thousands of people in different countries taking part in protest rallies held in response to this development.
Dozens of protesters clashed with Israeli security forces as numerous Palestinian residents of the West Bank, the Gaza Strip and Jerusalem rose up to protest against Trump’s declaration.
Palestinian protesters burn tyres during a demonstration in the southern Gaza Strip town of Rafah on December 8, 2017 against US President Donald Trump's latest decision to recognise Jerusalem as the capital of Israel
The protests were preceded by Ismail Haniyeh, leader of the political bureau of the Palestinian Hamas movement, declaring Friday a "day of rage" and calling for a new intifada.
About 200 Palestinians ended up injured in the ensuing clashes between Israeli security forces and the protesters, with one person reportedly getting killed.
Protesters in Kabul were carrying banners with anti-US and anti-Israeli slogans like “Death to America!” and “Death to Israel!” as well as placards depicting crossed-out American and Israeli flags.
Some of the rally participants were also bearing banners proclaiming Jerusalem as “the capital of Palestine.”
The protests however were not limited to Afghanistan, as thousands have gathered in the streets of the Jordanian capital of Amman to publicly decry Trump’s actions.
The protesters burned American and Israeli flags and, and called upon the government to sever relations with Israel, according to media reports.
Indonesia and Malaysia
Their outrage was echoed by thousands of protesters in Indonesia and Malaysia who also took to the streets chanting anti-US slogans, with protesters in Kuala Lumpur burning an effigy of President Trump.
Hundreds of protesters rallied in Cairo, waving Palestinian flags and chanting anti-Israeli slogans.
Thousands of pro-Palestinian sympathizers marched along the streets of the Turkish capital of Istanbul, chanting slogans like "down with America!" and "down with Israel!".
Protesters Lash Out at Trump Across Muslim World
Voice of America, December 8, 2017
Israeli warplanes also struck Hamas military targets in Gaza in response to a rocket fired from the area. The Palestinian health ministry said at least 15 people were injured in the strikes.
Demonstrations also took place Friday in Iraq, Jordan, Syria, Pakistan, Lebanon, Malaysia and Indonesia, the world’s most populous Muslim-majority country.
The Arab League, comprised of nearly two dozen countries, will meet Saturday in an effort to create a joint position on the matter.
U.S. President Donald Trump announced Wednesday that Jerusalem is the capital of Israel and the United States plans to move its embassy there. Israel considers all of Jerusalem to be its capital. The Palestinians want the eastern part of Jerusalem for its capital of a future independent state.
A Palestinian walks in front of the Dome of the Rock ahead of the prayers in Jerusalem, Dec. 8, 2017.
Israel has added additional security forces in Jerusalem. In the past, Israel has imposed age restrictions at Jerusalem’s Temple Mount compound where violence often erupts during tense times.
Israeli police spokesman Mickey Rosenfeld said, “We have no indication there will be disturbances on the mount, therefore there is no age restriction. If there will be disturbances, then we will respond immediately.”
The site is known to Muslims as the Noble Sanctuary and to Jews as the Temple Mount. It is the holiest Jewish site and the third holiest in Islam.
The Islamist group Hamas, meanwhile, has called for an uprising against Israel.
Protesters demonstrate outside the U.S. embassy against President Donald Trump's decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital, in London, Dec. 8, 2017.
Decade of diplomacy defied
Trump’s announcement defies decades of diplomacy in the quest to bring peace to Israel. Jerusalem has been one of the biggest stumbling blocks in the quest and it was widely believed that a solution would be reached in the peace process negotiations.
The White House on Thursday denied that the president’s announcement on moving the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem means his administration is pulling out of the Middle East peace process.
“In fact, in the president’s remarks, he said that we are as committed to the peace process as ever, and we want to continue to push forward in those conversations and those discussions,” White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders told reporters. “And hopefully the ultimate goal, I think, of all those parties is to reach a peace deal. And that’s something that the United States is very much committed to.”
People take part in a protest against Donald Trump's decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, in Athens, Greece, Dec. 8, 2017.
No other country has immediately followed Trump’s lead in planning to relocate its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, something the White House has acknowledged.
“I’m not aware of any countries that we anticipate that happening at any point soon,” Sanders said. “I’m not saying that they aren’t, but I’m not aware of them.”
The Russian ambassador in Israel, Alexander Shein, said Moscow could move its embassy to West Jerusalem “after the Palestinians and the Israelis agree on all issues of the final status of the Palestinian territories.”
The Russian foreign ministry, in a statement viewed as a surprise by Israelis, said it considers “East Jerusalem as the capital of the future Palestinian state. At the same time, we must state that in this context we view West Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.”
FILE - In this March 17, 2003 file photo, an Israeli border policemen guards the U.S. Embassy in Tel Aviv.
To draw up plans
Trump, on Wednesday, said he was directing the State Department to immediately begin drawing up architectural plans for a U.S. embassy in the holy city. But the actual relocation of the U.S. embassy, however, would take years, according to White House officials.
“We have to acquire a site, we have to develop building plans, construction plans, as you point out, ensure we get the authorizations — although I do not anticipate any difficulties getting those authorizations. And then actually build an embassy,” U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said Friday at a joint press conference with his French counterpart in Paris.
“So this is not something that is going to happen this year, probably not next year,” Tillerson added, also noting that Trump was careful to say in his speech Wednesday that recognition and moving the embassy do not indicate any final status for Jerusalem.
Somalis attend a protest against U.S. President Donald Trump's decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, in Mogadishu, Somalia, Dec. 8, 2017.
Both Tillerson and Defense Secretary Jim Mattis have expressed concern about the timing of Trump’s announcement, according to U.S. officials.
Asked by VOA whether the president’s declaration had been delayed at the request of the two Cabinet members in order to put into place adequate security at U.S. embassies, Sanders replied the decision was made only after “a thoughtful and responsible process” and that “components of the decision went through the full interagency process.”
Palestinian officials say Trump’s decision has disqualified the U.S. as an honest broker in the peace process. Many U.S. allies are also disagreeing with the move.
Robert Berger in Jerusalem, and Steve Herman at the White House contributed to this report.
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