Israeli Airstrikes Hit Gaza as Muslim World Protests Continue Against Trump’s Jerusalem Decision
Israeli airstrikes on the Gaza Strip in response to rocket fire from Gaza killed two men Saturday, in the latest fallout from the announcement from U.S. President Donald Trump that Washington is recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and plans to move its Israeli embassy there.
Hamas said two of its gunmen were killed in the strikes.
An Israeli army statement said the target of the strikes were “two weapons manufacturing sites, a weapons warehouse and a military compound.”
Large crowds of protesters across the Muslim world staged anti-U.S. marches Friday after the United States recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, with protests in Gaza leading to the death of one Palestinian man.
The Palestinian, Mahmoud al-Masri, 30, was killed by Israeli soldiers during clashes along the Israel-Gaza border after Palestinians called for a “Day of Rage” to protest the U.S. action. The Israeli military confirmed that it shot two people in Khan Yunis in southern Gaza, accusing them of being “main instigators” of “violent riots.”
Israeli warplanes also struck Hamas military targets in Gaza Friday 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.
Some of the United States’ oldest allies turned their backs on Washington’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital during an emergency meeting of the U.N. Security Council Friday.
“It contradicts international law and U.N. Security Council resolutions,” Swedish Ambassador Oloof Skoog told the council. “Jerusalem is a final status issue and can therefore only be resolved through negotiations agreed between the parties.”
British Ambassador Matthew Rycroft said Jerusalem should ultimately be the shared capital of the Israeli and Palestinian states after a negotiated settlement.
More than half the council’s 15 members requested the open meeting, and delegations from other member states packed the chamber, indicating the importance Jerusalem’s status holds across the globe.
Security Council members criticized the Trump administration decision, saying it risks prejudging the outcome of final status issues and threatens the entire peace process. They also expressed concerns it could be exploited by extremists and radicals, fueling tensions in an already turbulent region.
Elsewhere, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said in Beijing, “The status of Jerusalem should be determined through dialog and negotiation. . . The two-state solution remains the feasible way to fundamentally settle the Palestinian issue.”
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 hammered out in the peace process negotiations.
The White House has 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.
Palestinian officials say Trump’s decision has disqualified the U.S. as an honest broker in the peace process.
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.
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.