- Israeli PM will hold talks he said were first of kind for 20 years with EU leaders after US recognises Jerusalem as Israel’s capital
The Israeli prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, has arrived in Europe on his first foreign trip since US recognition of Jerusalem as the the country’s capital triggered a wave of condemnation and protest.
In the latest demonstrations against Donald Trump’s declaration, Lebanese security forces fired teargas and water cannon near the US embassy north of Beirut.
Protesters, some of them waving Palestinian flags, lit fires in the street and threw objects at members of the security forces who had barricaded the main road to the embassy.
Addressing the protesters, the head of the Lebanese Communist party, Hanna Gharib, declared Washington “the enemy of Palestine” the embassy “a symbol of imperialist aggression” that must be closed.
The US president’s recognition of Jerusalem as the Israeli capital has infuriated the Arab world and upset western allies, who say it is a blow to peace efforts and risks causing further unrest in the Middle East.
Most countries consider East Jerusalem, which Israel annexed after capturing it in 1967, to be occupied territory. They say the status of the city should be left to be decided at future Israeli-Palestinian talks. Israel says that all of Jerusalem is its capital, but Palestinians claim East Jerusalem as the capital of a future independent state.
Netanyahu is to meet the French president, Emanuel Macron, in Paris on Sunday before holding meetings with EU foreign ministers in Brussels on Monday that he said were the first such talks with an Israeli prime minister in more than two decades.
Netanyahu was critical of EU leaders, who have also condemned the building of Israeli settlements in West Bank, as he left Israel late on Saturday.
“While I respect Europe, I am not prepared to accept a double standard from it,” said Netanyahu, who has also faced heavy criticism from European leaders over Israeli settlement building.
“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,” he said.
Several rockets were fired from the Gaza Strip toward Israel on Thursday and Friday following Trump’s declaration, leading Israel to respond with airstrikes that killed two people.
Arab foreign ministers meeting in Cairo late of Saturday urged the US to abandon its decision and said the move would spur violence throughout the region.
Lebanon, which hosts about 450,000 Palestinian refugees, has condemned Trump’s decision. The country’s president, Michel Aoun, last week called the move a threat to regional stability.
Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah, the leader of Hezbollah, the powerful Iranian-backed Lebanese Shia group, has called for a protest against the decision in the southern suburbs of Beirut the group controls on Monday.
About 5,000 Indonesian Muslims also protested in Jakarta on Sunday against Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. They gathered outside the US embassy in the world’s most populous Muslim-majority country to vent their anger.
The Islamist Prosperous Justice party (PKS), which organised the Jakarta rally and several others around the country, said Trump’s decision was a declaration of “hostility to Muslims throughout the world.”
Source The Guardian
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Welcome in the European Union, Benjamin