BEIRUT, Lebanon – Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan called Israel a “terrorist” and “child-murderer state” in an address Sunday as he criticized President Donald Trump over his recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.
“Jerusalem is the apple of our eye. We will not abandon it to the child-murderer state. We will not abandon it to an occupier state,” Erdogan said in an address in the Turkish city of Sivas.
“We will continue our struggle within law and democracy. In Istanbul we will unite Islamic countries, leaders and heads of states. Our road map will show that it will not be easy for them to realize their plans,” Erdogan said. He also said Trump’s Jerusalem announcement was “null and void.”
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu responded to Erdogan on Sunday, saying: “I’m not used to receiving lectures about morality from a leader who bombs Kurdish villagers in his native turkey, who jails journalists, who helps Iran go around international sanctions, and who helps terrorists, including in Gaza, kill innocent people. That is not the man who is going to lecture us.”
Speaking from Paris, where he met with French President Emmanuel Macron, Netanyahu said that Jerusalem has “always been our capital, and Jerusalem has never been the capital of any other people. I think the sooner the Palestinians come to grips with this reality, the sooner we’ll move towards peace.”
Israel launched airstrikes early Saturday against what it said were Hamas targets in Gaza, after several rockets were fired out of Gaza towards Israel. Two Palestinians were killed in those airstrikes, the Palestinian Health Ministry said.
More than 300 people were injured Friday across the West Bank, Gaza and Jerusalem, 50 of whom needed hospital treatment, during protests against Trump’s decision, according to the Palestinian Authority’s Health Ministry.
In Beirut, Lebanese security forces clashed with protesters near the US Embassy on Sunday. Violence erupted during a demonstration against Trump’s announcement on Jerusalem.
Hundreds of protesters and dozens of riot police gathered in front of the entrance leading to the heavily fortified building. Some youth in the crowd threw stones toward the gate leading to the embassy.
Despite calls to keep the demonstration peaceful, clashes broke out as crowds threw plastic water bottles, stones and sticks at the police.
Lebanese security forces on the scene responded with tear gas and water cannons, as demonstrators lit a large garbage can and car tires on fire. One American flag was burned.
At least five protesters affected by tear gas were carried away from the scene.
Protesters told CNN they condemned Trump’s steps on Jerusalem’s status, and said they were angry at the “impotence” of Arab leaders in the wake of the controversial decision.
“Sheep who are the Arab leaders betrayed Jerusalem years ago,” Mustafa, a Syrian demonstrator, told CNN.
The demonstration outside the embassy comes as Lebanese group Hezbollah plans to hold a demonstration Monday in the Beirut suburbs to condemn Trump’s decision.
Trump’s move Wednesday to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and commit to moving the US Embassy to the holy city has prompted international condemnation and sparked protests worldwide, from Indonesia and Malaysia, to Iraq, Jordan, Turkey and Egypt.
Pope Francis on Sunday issued an appeal for “wisdom and prudence” in the wake of clashes over Trump’s Jerusalem decision.
The Pope also called upon leaders to “commit themselves to avert a new spiral of violence” adding that they should encourage “peace, justice and security” for people in the region, which he described as a “battered land.”
Palestinian Authority Foreign Minister Riyad Al-Malki called Trump’s decision “illegal and illegitimate and null and void legally and politically,” saying there would be no formal communication with US officials.
Before the protests broke out in Lebanon, the Arab League condemned Trump’s decision as well, describing it as a “dangerous” development. The foreign ministers of the 22-member states of the Arab League met for an emergency meeting at their headquarters in Cairo on Saturday.
The US policy change on Jerusalem puts it “on the side of occupation” and “exempts it from a mediation role in the peace process,” the Arab League said in a statement.
It warned that attempts to change the legal status of Jerusalem or to “change the Arab identity of the city” are “provocations to the feelings of Muslims and Christians across the Muslim and Arab world” and violates international law. – CNN