NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Violence has erupted in Israel as Palestinians react to President Donald Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as its capital, but the U.S. insists that peace is still a possibility.
Israeli security forces fired tear gas at demonstrators during clashes in Bethlehem as Palestinians gathered to protest against Trump’s decision.
The Israeli military said it was reinforcing troops in the occupied West Bank, deploying several new army battalions.
Palestinian secular and Islamist factions were on a general strike in protest of Trump’s announcement.
“We cannot solve our problems by making the same failed assumptions and repeating the same failed strategies of the past,” Trump said Wednesday.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called the recognition a momentous occasion in Israeli history.
“Jerusalem, the capital of the jewish state of israel. If you weren’t aware of that until yesterday, you are now. But we have been aware of it for 3,000 years,” he said.
But Arab leaders are warning of the fallout.
“Ignoring the Palestinian, Muslim and Christian rights in Jerusalem will only fuel further extremism and undermine the war against terrorism,” said Jordan’s King Abdullah II.
Jerusalem is Israel’s holiest city but also home to one of Islam’s holiest sites and the Palestinians want East Jerusalem as their own capital.
But at a conference in Austria Secretary of State Rex Tillerson says the U.S. believes in the possibility of a peace agreement.
“Very committed to a peace process still, that’s what I know the whole world wants and we still believe there is an opportunity for peace,” Tillerson said.
Palestinian groups have called for “Day of Rage” protests Friday, the holy day.
The U.N. Security Council has called an emergency meeting also for Friday.