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Senior Jerusalem church leader says Trump has 'added fuel to the fire'

A church leader in Jerusalem told Premier US President Donald Trump has added more fuel to the fire after he announced plans to move the US embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

On Thursday clashes between Palestinian protesters and Israeli troops erupted across the West Bank while demonstrators in Gaza burned Israeli and US flags after Donald Trump moved to recognise Jerusalem as Israel's capital.

The leader of the Hamas militant group, which runs Gaza, called for a new armed uprising in a widespread show of anger over the US president's move.

In the West Bank, crowds of protesters set tyres on fire and threw stones at anti-riot troops. 

In the biblical town of Bethlehem, troops fired water cannons and tear gas to disperse a crowd in clashes that could cloud the upcoming Christmas celebrations in the town of Jesus's birth. 

Bishop Munib Younan from the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Jordan and the Holy Land was one of 13 Christian leaders in Israel who wrote an open letter to President Trump asking him to promote peace instead of destruction.

He told Premier: “The atmosphere is tense. There is anger.

“What our message was that Jerusalem cannot be exclusively for one nation.

“It’s the right of the people to decide what the capital is, not a power from outside.

“The Middle East does not need more violence, extremism, division. We need only justice.”

In the letter, the church leaders asked Donald Trump to: “help us all walk towards more love and a definitive peace, which cannot be reached without Jerusalem being for all”.

 

Meanwhile, the International Christian Embassy Jerusalem wholeheartedly welcomed Trump’s decision.

 The group called it a “long overdue step which goes to the core of the historic national identity of the Jewish people”.

It added: “This is an issue which also goes to the very heart of our calling as a ministry.

“Jerusalem holds great historical and religious significance for billions of people of faith all around the world.”

Listen to Bishop Munib Younan speaking with Premier's Alex Williams here: 



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