Violent Incidents Break Out After Trump's Jerusalem Announcement

Violent Incidents Break Out After Trump's Jerusalem Announcement

The announcement of president Trump regarding the status of Jerusalem has been seen as an historic step in US foreign policy. While many Israeli supporters lauded Trump’s move, from the moment the ink dried on the December 6th proclamation, it was clear that serious backlash would result.

An outpouring of criticism from the international community began almost instantly, with European leaders such as French president Macron, and religious figures including Pope Francis beginning to speak about the “destabilizing” effects that Trump’s position would have. Turkey’s president Recep Tayyip Erdogan threatened to cut off diplomatic ties with the United States over the announcement. Egyptian leaders have canceled meetings with Vice President Mike Pence during his upcoming trip to the Middle East.

The torrent of diplomatic kickback caused by the announcement is not surprising in the least. This is why many of Trump’s closest advisers including Secretary of Defense James Mattis, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and CIA chief Mike Pompeo reportedly objected to the move.

On a diplomatic level, Trump’s bold stance on Jerusalem certainly undermines the persona he is trying to be within the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, namely the impartial broker between the two sides to bring about the “mother of all deals.” It is this undermining of the US, and perhaps the whole West by extension, as a peace mediator that triggered all intense objections by leaders from around the globe as well as within the American administration.

In addition to political tensions the US will have to contend with, the Jerusalem issue has already started a ripple effect of on-the-ground consequences.

In the West Bank, Palestinian factions responded to Trump’s declaration with “Days of Rage” protests, rioting, burning, and clashing with Israeli security forces throughout the territories. As of this writing, some 60 Palestinians have been wounded in these clashes.

In Jerusalem itself, a security guard was stabbed by a Palestinian terrorist after he approached the entrance to the Central Bus Station on Jaffa Street, the main thoroughfare in the city’s center.  

The violence has not been confined to Israel.

A man waving a Palestinian flag was caught on video smashing the windows of a kosher restaurant in Amsterdam the day following Trump’s announcement. According to witness reports, the ISIS motivated attacker in the recent Manhattan bombing attempt allegedly screamed “Jerusalem” before detonating the device strapped to his body. Any connection with the Manhattan bomber would further underscore the incredible effect Trump’s Jerusalem announcement is having. The ongoing investigations by federal authorities in the US will uncover if this issue factored into the bomber’s motivations.  

On an optimistic note, many observers have pointed to a fizzling out of the violence over the past several days in Israel and the West Bank. Furthermore, the moving of the US embassy to Jerusalem, a key commitment contained in Trump’s announcement last week, is not happening anytime soon, and will probably not happen for the next few years.