Turkey blasts Israel's 'excessive force' against Arab rioters

Turkey's Foreign Ministry claims Israel used excessive and disproportionate force against Palestinian Arabs during their "Day of Rage".

Elad Benari ,

Arabs riot in Judea and Samaria
Arabs riot in Judea and Samaria
Nasser Ishtayeh/Flash 90

Turkey's Foreign Ministry on Saturday condemned what it called Israel's "excessive" and "disproportionate" use of force against Palestinian Arabs who protested the U.S. decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital.

The ministry said in a statement quoted by The Associated Press that Turkey felt "huge sadness and worry" after four people were killed and hundreds injured during protests by Palestinian Arabs in the "occupied lands."

Friday’s protests were part of a “Day of Rage” against Trump’s decision. More than 3,000 Palestinian Authority residents rioted in Judea and Samaria, burning tires, hurling firebombs at Israeli security forces, and stones at Israeli civilians.

Several hundred Arab rioters also demonstrated at six sites inside Gaza along the border with Israel, hurling rocks at Israeli security forces.

Some 250 rioters clashed with Israeli police in the Old City of Jerusalem, while dozens more threw rocks elsewhere in eastern Jerusalem.

Turkey’s statement on Saturday said the U.S. decision on Jerusalem stood contrary to international law and United Nations resolutions on the status of the city.

The Arab world has been a fierce critic of Trump’s decision, and Turkey has been no exception.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Tuesday warned the United States not to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, or to move the embassy in Israel to Jerusalem, saying that any change to the status quo vis-à-vis Jerusalem would constitute a “red line” for Muslims. He also threatened that his country would sever ties with Israel if Trump went through with the move.

A day later, after Trump made his announcement, an adviser to Erdogan said the country intends to sever its diplomatic relations with Israel in response to Trump’s declaration, which he called "aggression against Palestinian rights and complicity with the crime of the occupation."

Israel and Turkey signed a comprehensive reconciliation deal last year, ending a six-year diplomatic standoff following a violent encounter between Israeli soldiers and Islamist radicals on a ship attempting to break through the security blockade on Gaza.