As Trump Inflames Middle East, Travel Warnings Issued and Third Intifada Looms
Region faces upheaval as Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas decries U.S. decision on Jerusalem as "deliberate undermining of all peace efforts"
The U.S. State Department warned citizens to use extra caution when traveling outside the country on Thursday, a day after President Donald Trump announced the U.S. would recognize Jerusalem as the capitol of Israel and move its embassy there from Tel Aviv, inflaming tensions in the Middle East.
The "Worldwide Caution" urged Americans to avoid Jerusalem's Old City and the West Bank. The State Department also implored U.S. travelers "to maintain a high level of vigilance and take appropriate steps to increase their security awareness when traveling" and to "be alert to the possibility of political unrest, violence, demonstrations, and criminal activities when traveling"—but made no mention of Trump's actions which set off the demonstrations taking place in the West Bank, Pakistan, Turkey, and other parts of the region.
In the Gaza Strip and the Occupied West Bank, Friday has been declared a "day of rage" for Palestinians, while Ismail Haniyah, leader of the Hamas government in Gaza, said now was the time for a Third Intifada--or uprising--across the occupied territories.
"We want the uprising to last and continue to let Trump and the occupation regret this decision," said Haniyeh.
The Israeli military responded to protests near Ramallah in the West Bank by firing tear gas and stun grenades at demonstrators, and prepared for an expected increase in violence in the coming days by ramping up its presence in the West Bank. Dozens of protesters were injured in clashes on Thursday.
In Turkey, thousands of people marched in anti-American rallies and protesters in front of the U.S. embassy in Ankara read a statement saying that the Palestinian crisis a fundamental issue for Muslims all over the world.
Palestinians have recognized East Jerusalem as their capital, and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas said that with Trump's announcement, the role played by the U.S. over "the past decades in sponsoring the peace process" is now over.
“These reprehensible and rejected measures constitute a deliberate undermining of all peace efforts,” said Abbas of Trump’s decision.
Meanwhile, journalists on social media cautioned against the framing the unrest as the primary concern regarding Trump's decision.
Framing US Embassy move in terms of "there will be violence" instead of "this violates international law & legitimizes land theft, annexation & settler-colonialism" emphasizes potential reaction of the occupied & displaced, instead of illegal, vicious actions of their oppressors. https://t.co/JI3P4xvSze— Nima Shirazi (@WideAsleepNima) December 6, 2017
This is a vital point. Opposing Trump's decision by emphasizing Arab violence 1) avoids condemning Israel for land theft and its plan for eternal, illegal occupation (the key point); and 2) exploits stereotypes of Muslims as mindless, violent, primitive reactionaries. https://t.co/OSQhPVo3bx— Glenn Greenwald (@ggreenwald) December 7, 2017