Rioting Protesters Breach US Embassy Gates In Beirut, Repelled By Tear Gas And Water Cannon
Hundreds of protesters in Lebanon faced off with security forces outside the US Embassy in Beirut on Sunday over President Trump’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.
Protesters near the U.S. embassy in Awkar, in Beirut, Lebanon December 10, 2017.
Protesters waving Palestinian flags threw projectiles, smoke grenades, set fires in the street, and even breached a section of the gate to the US Embassy before being turned away by security forces who used tear gas and a water cannon to disperse the crowd. Several protesters were detained, according to witnesses.
US and Israeli flags were also reportedly burned, along with an effigy of Donald Trump, according to Reuters.
— Mustafa (@MustafAbuZir_E) December 10, 2017
U.S. Embassy Beirut is aware that several groups have announced public protests following the U.S. announcement of a new policy with regard to the status of Jerusalem. Demonstrations have the potential to become violent. U.S. Embassy Beirut reminds U.S. citizens of the need for caution and awareness of personal security. We urge U.S. citizens to avoid all protests. –US Embassy
The head of the Lebanese Communist Party, Hanna Gharib, addressed protesters – calling the United States “the enemy of Palestine,” and the US Embassy “a symbol of imperialist aggression.”
“We came to say to the U.S. Embassy that it is an embassy of aggression and that Jerusalem is Arab and will stay Arab,” said Ahmad Mustafa, an official in the leftist Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine, who was among the demonstrators.
Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem has set off a firestorm in the Arab world and upset Western allies, who have admonished the decision saying it is a blow to peace efforts and risks further volatility in the Middle East. A Sunday meeting of foreign ministers of Arab League countries called on the UN Security Council to adopt a resolution condemning Trump’s decision.
“We have taken a political decision not meant to reflect [what is going on in] the streets. Political work is responsible work,” stated Ahmed Aboul-Gheit, chief of the Arab League, adding “Jerusalem has been occupied for 50 years. This is an extended battle, a battle that will be escalated.”
Israel has long claimed that all of Jerusalem is its capital, while Palestinians have long planned to make East Jerusalem the capital of a future independent state. After Israel annexed the region in a 1967 war, most of the Arab world considers East Jerusalem to be occupied territory which should be granted to Palestinians in future Israeli-Palestinian talks.
As Reuters reports:
The government of Lebanon, which hosts about 450,000 Palestinian refugees, has condemned Trump’s decision. Lebanese President Michel Aoun last week called the move a threat to regional stability.
The powerful Iran-backed Lebanese Shi‘ite group Hezbollah on Thursday said it backed calls for a new Palestinian uprising against Israel in response to the U.S. decision.
Hezbollah leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah also called for a protest against the decision in the Hezbollah-controlled southern suburbs of Beirut on Monday.
Lebanon’s Prime Minister, Saad Hariri, meanwhile tweeted that Beirut had the “utmost solidarity with the Palestinian people, as well as their “right to establish an independent state with Jerusalem as its capital.”
Meanwhile in Jerusalem, a Palestinian terrorist was arrested on Sunday for reportedly stabbing a security guard over Trump’s decision, according to Israeli police. Spokesman Micky Rosenfeld tweeted that the security guard was seriously injured, and the man who did it was among over 20 people arrested in the incident.
Palestinian terrorist, 24 arrested at scene, central bus station Jerusalem by police after he stabbed security officer in serious condition. pic.twitter.com/i16s7bGmCw
— Micky Rosenfeld (@MickyRosenfeld) December 10, 2017
Thousands of people in the predominantly Muslim city of Jakarta, Indonesia protested Trump’s decision in solidarity with the Palestinians, according to AFP, while hundreds of Israeli Arabs also took to a major highway in the Wadi area of northern Israel – damaging several vehicles and leaving several people wounded, according to AP.