U.S. President Donald Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital on triggered an immediate condemnation and concern from an unlikely majority Muslim nation in Western Africa.
The government of The Gambia called Trump’s announcement that he will also be moving the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem a “dangerous escalation” of the Middle East crisis.
The Gambia called for “the withdrawal of the statement and urges for the pursuit of dialogue in order to resolve this dangerous escalation of the Arab – Israeli conflict,” in a statement released by the country’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Hamas’ political leader Ismail Haniya called for a new intifada, or uprising, in the face of Israel, labeling Trump’s move a “war declaration against Palestinians.” The announcement prompted riots in the streets of Gaza, where demonstrators burned tires and set fire to pictures of the U.S. president.
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas lambasted Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem, saying he refused to acknowledge it and that this marked the end of America’s role as mediator in the Israeli-Palestinian peace process.
Israel seized East Jerusalem in the 1967 war with the Arabs and has since occupied the city. Gambia said Trump’s announcement goes against several UN Resolutions and contravenes the US-brokered Oslo accords to have the status of the city decided through negotiations with the Palestinians.
Gambia’s President Adama Barrow met with Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in June and they discussed security cooperation and assistance. Netanyahu is on a mission to attract as many African nations to support the Jewish state but it seems his charming of The Gambia is not good enough to prevent the small nation from condemning Trump’s Jerusalem move.