A new wave of protests against U.S. President Donald Trump’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as the Israeli capital erupted Sunday in parts of the Muslim and Arab world.
Lebanese security forces outside the U.S. Embassy in Beirut fired water cannons and tear gas to beat back Lebanese and Palestinian protesters who hurled projectiles at the embassy and burned Trump in effigy, along with U.S. and Israeli flags.
In Indonesia, home to the world’s largest population of Muslims, thousands of protesters mounted a demonstration outside the U.S. Embassy in the capital, Jakarta, while other protests occurred in Jordan, Turkey, Pakistan, Malaysia, Egypt and the Palestinian territories bordering Israel.
Netanyahu in Paris
Before he left late Saturday for meetings with European leaders, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu attacked what he said was their hypocrisy in condemning Trump’s decision to eventually move the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv, where most foreign governments have their embassies in Israel.
“While I respect Europe, I am not prepared to accept a double standard from it,” Netanyahu said. “I hear voices from there condemning President Trump’s historic statement, but I have not heard condemnations of the rockets fired at Israel or the terrible incitement against it. I am not prepared to accept this hypocrisy.”
After meeting with Netanyahu, French President Emmanuel Macron condemned attacks on Israel, but said he opposes Trump’s decision on Jerusalem. Macron described it as a “breach of international law and at risk for peace. In risk for peace because I believe these statements do not serve security, including the security of Israel and the Israelis.”
Nikki Haley, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, defended Trump’s decision in an interview on CNN. She said Israel already has numerous government agencies in Jerusalem, adding, “Why shouldn’t we have the embassy there?” She said Trump “did the will of the [American] people” by making a decision that previous U.S. presidents refused to dco.
Police in the Swedish city of Gothenburg arrested three people for allegedly throwing firebombs at a synagogue. A police spokesman said Sunday the incident is being investigated as attempted arson. No one was hurt in the incident. Officials in Stockholm say security has been tightened around a synagogue in the capital. Israeli police said a security guard was stabbed and seriously wounded near the Jerusalem bus terminal. His attacker was arrested.
Arab League Meeting
Earlier Sunday, the Arab League called Trump’s decision “a dangerous development that places the United States at a position of bias in favor of the occupation and the violation of international law and resolutions.”
The statement was issued early Sunday after an emergency meeting of league foreign ministers in Cairo and went on to say that Trump’s decision also strips the U.S. of its role as a “sponsor and broker” in the Mideast peace process.
The resolution also said Trump’s Jerusalem decision “undermines efforts to bring about peace, deepens tension and will spark anger that will threaten to push the region to the edge of the abyss of violence, chaos and bloodshed.”
The head of the Arab League called on the nations of the world to recognize Palestine as a sovereign state with Jerusalem as its capital, in response to Trump’s announcement. The foreign ministers also called on the UN Security Council to adopt a resolution condemning Trump’s decision.
The meeting in Cairo took place after days of street protests in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, as well as protests at Al-Azhar Mosque in the Egyptian capital.
A report in Foreign Policy magazine says the White House, in a recent meeting with Palestinian diplomats, failed to tell them about Trump’s Jerusalem decision even as the delegation asked if Trump would sign the waiver to prevent the U.S. Embassy from moving to Jerusalem.
The heads of the largest Christian church in Cairo and Al-Azhar University have said they will not meet with U.S. Vice President Mike Pence when he visits Cairo on December 20. Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has also announced he will not meet with Pence, saying “the U.S. has crossed red lines” on Jerusalem.
A statement from the Coptic Orthodox Church called the Trump decision “inappropriate and without consideration for the feelings of millions of people. In Paris, pro-Palestinian demonstrators marched ahead of Netanyahu’s visit. Netanyahu met with French President Emmanuel Macron, who has called Trump’s decision “regrettable.”