Trump's Israeli embassy announcement is sparking protests in Jerusalem

Trump's White House isn't unified on the president's decision to put the U.S. embassy in Jerusalem

By Matthew Rozsa

Published December 7, 2017 9:24AM (EST)

 (AP/Michael Conroy)
(AP/Michael Conroy)

President Donald Trump's decision to move the American embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem is being met with the very outrage that so many had predicted.

Israeli soldiers had to use tear gas and stun grenades against hundreds of protesters who assembled at a checkpoint near Ramallah to protest Trump's decision, according to The Washington Post. In Gaza, Hamas reacted to the news by urging the Palestinian people to engage in a third intifada against Israel, while the Palestinian Authority called for a general strike.

Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh also declared that Friday would be a day of rage.

"Tomorrow should be a day of rage and the beginning of a broad movement for an uprising that I call the intifada of freedom of Jerusalem," Haniyeh told his followers.

The protests have spread across the West Bank and Gaza Strip, including to the cities of Bethlehem, Hebron, Jenin and Nablus according the Post.

The restrained response by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to the news was the result of a communique sent by the State Department urging Israel to consider how their reaction might further inflame the already volatile situation.

"While I recognize that you will publicly welcome this news, I ask that you restrain your official response. We expect there to be resistance to this news in the Middle East and around the world. We are still judging the impact this decision will have on U.S. facilities and personnel overseas," the document was quoted as saying.

Meanwhile, White House officials have had a decidedly mixed response to Trump's decision about Jerusalem.

One official tried to play off the decision to CNN as a controversial one that was made at the best possible moment.

"In terms of a moment where it could happen, where it could be the least disruptive at a moment in time, this is the moment. We know there will be some short term pain, but think it will help in the long run," the anonymous official told CNN.

Another Trump confidant suggested that the president was less calculating than he might have appeared to be.

"It's insane. We're all resistant. He doesn't realize what all he could trigger by doing this," the confidant told The Washington Post.

Matthew Rozsa

Matthew Rozsa is a staff writer for Salon. He holds an MA in History from Rutgers University-Newark and is ABD in his PhD program in History at Lehigh University. His work has appeared in Mic, Quartz and MSNBC.

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Donald Trump Israel Jerusalem Palestinian Protests Rex Tillerson