Violence at protest near US embassy in Beirut

Lebanon, which hosts about 450,000 Palestinian refugees, has condemned Trump’s decision

15:17 December 10, 2017

BEIRUT: Lebanese security forces fired tear gas and water canons at protesters near the US Embassy in Lebanon on Sunday during a demonstration against President Donald Trump’s decision to recognise occupied Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.

Protesters, some of them waving Palestinian flags, set fires in the street and threw projectiles towards security forces that had barricaded the main road to the US Embassy in the Awkar area north of Beirut.

Addressing the protesters, the head of the Lebanese Communist Party Hanna Gharib declared the United States “the enemy of Palestine” and the US Embassy “a symbol of imperialist aggression” that must be closed.

Protesters burnt US and Israeli flags.

Trump’s recognition of occupied Jerusalem as Israel capital has infuriated the Arab world and upset Western allies, who say it is a blow to peace efforts and risks causing further unrest in the Middle East.

Late on Saturday Arab foreign ministers meeting in Cairo urged the United States to abandon its decision and said the move would spur violence throughout the region.

Palestinians want East Jerusalem as the capital of a future independent state.

Most countries consider East Jerusalem, which Israel annexed after capturing it in a 1967 war, to be occupied territory and say the status of the city should be left to be decided at future Israeli-Palestinian talks.

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 Iran-backed Lebanese group Hezbollah on Thursday said it backed calls for a new Palestinian uprising against Israel in response to the US decision.

Hezbollah leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah also called for a protest against the decision in the Hezbollah-controlled southern suburbs of Beirut on Monday.