One of the central points of discord in the Israel-Palestine conflict is the state of Jerusalem. The eastern part of the city lies outside Israel's original borders, and only became part of the Jewish state after the Israeli military captured and annexed it in 1967. The former municipality is, of course, home to sites sacred to Jews, Muslims, and Christians alike. Therefore, Palestinian leaders want the city to be divided, and East Jerusalem to become the capital of a future Palestinian state. The Israeli government would prefer to maintain sovereignty over everything.
For decades, the White House has refused to take sides in this dispute, in order to maintain the (obviously false) claim that it is a neutral arbiter in the conflict. Therefore, the United States has refused to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, and maintains its embassy in Tel Aviv.
But on Wednesday, President Trump decided to dispense with this policy. Although he refused to declare Jerusalem as the undivided capital of Israel and, therefore, did not take an official position on the underlying point of discord, Trump chose to challenge the entire international community and risk causing violent riots, so that to deliver a purely symbolic victory to a small (but influential) constituency within his party.
There were riots and rocket fire.
– ABC News (@ABC) December 7, 2017
When Trump made his gesture on Wednesday , he threw a lit match on a large pile of firewood. In the West Bank, Israel has subjected the Palestinians to an ethnically discriminatory form of military rule for half a century. In Gaza, the Netanyahu government has maintained a decade-long blockade, a policy aimed at forcing the Islamic terrorist group Hamas to lose power in the region. The blockade has produced a recurrent shortage of basic needs. This humanitarian emergency has been exacerbated by a political crisis in Palestinian society: in the hope of overthrowing the Hamas government in Gaza, the Palestinian President backed by the West, Mahmoud Abbas, cut funds for electricity in the area early in the year. this year. This has left Gazans deprived of reliable access to power, clean water and medical supplies.
In response to the president's announcement, Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh called for a new uprising (or "intifada") against Israel. Thousands of demonstrators gathered on Thursday in the West Bank cities of Hebron and Al-Bireh, shouting: "Jerusalem is the capital of the state of Palestine", reports Haaretz . Clashes between Palestinians and Israeli soldiers in the West Bank, East Jerusalem and Gaza left at least 19 Palestinians injured.
Meanwhile, multiple rockets were fired from Gaza into southern Israel. Most of them did not cross the Israeli border, but they did, according to the Israel Defense Forces (IDF). In response, an IDF tank and an aircraft attacked two of the so-called "terrorist posts" in central Gaza. The Israeli government blames Hamas for the rocket attacks. At the time of writing, it is not clear how many people died or were injured in those attacks.