President Donald Trump’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and to relocate the American embassy from Tel Aviv continues to ignite emotions and protests throughout the world.
“It’s a sad day for Palestine, Israel and the United States,” said Rev. Dr. Fahed Abu-Akel, an Atlanta retired Presbyterian minister and moderator of the 2014 general assembly of Presbyterian Church in the USA. “President Trump is stomping over international law and the United Nations. There was no need for him to do this, and he’s pouring fire on an already explosive region.”
On Thursday, according to USA Today, the leader of terrorist group Hamas called for a new "intifada" or uprising against Israel.
The encouragement to revolt came as clashes between hundreds of Palestinian protesters and Israeli troops erupted across the West Bank Thursday. Demonstrators in Gaza burned posters of Trump and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, as well as U.S. and Israeli flags, as part of "three days of rage" that began Wednesday.
Trump’s decision upended decades of U.S. policy on Jerusalem and countered long-standing international assurances to the Palestinians that the fate of the ancient city, claimed by Israelis and Palestinians, would be determined in negotiations.
"President Trump's declaration fatally undermines what was left of the Mideast peace process, and disregards international law, which has long recognized East Jerusalem as the capital of Palestine,” said Edward Ahmed Mitchell, executive director of Georgia’s chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations. “Like our Jewish and Christian neighbors, American Muslims consider Jerusalem to be a holy city where prophets once walked, and ancient holy sites still stand. Jerusalem belongs to everyone, and President Trump cannot change that with his illegal declaration."
“Jerusalem has been the capitol of Jewish people for 3,000 years, and Israel’s capital for 70 years,” said Ambassador Judith Shorer, consul general of Israel to the southeastern United States. “There is no peace in the Middle East, but this may be an important step to ignite the peace process.”
Stoner acknowledges the protests that have been happening in the West Bank since the president’s announcement, but hopes that Palestinian leaders will sit down and negotiate.
“President Trump himself said status of Jerusalem isn’t final,” Shorer said. “We have to start somewhere. Protesting and rioting is not the answer to the problem; the answer is to sit down at the negotiating table that you left years ago.”
“In the 21st century I wish Jerusalem could become a city of peace justice, not a city of guns and power.” Abu-Akel said. “To me, it is the holiest city under the sun.”