US increases tensions in the Middle East

The US has angrily blocked a UN Security Council resolution rejecting President Donald Trump's decision to recognise Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.

The 14 other members of the council voted in favour of a motion proposed by Egypt that said any decisions over the status of Jerusalem be rescinded.

The US's ambassador to the UN, Nikki Haley, responded: "What we witnessed here today in the Security Council is an insult. It won't be forgotten. It's one more example of the United Nations doing more harm than good in addressing the Israeli Palestinian conflict."

Trump's unilateral declaration, welcomed by Israel but condemned worldwide, actually inflamed the situation, which was already deteriorating after Israel's 10-year blockade on Gaza and its taking of more land for illegal settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories.

Trump condemned

The UN vote further isolates Washington. Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has condemned Trump and earlier refused to meet US Vice President Mike Pence who has been scheduled to visit the region but who has now postponed his trip.

With the status of Jerusalem being at the heart of Israel's conflict with the Palestinians the Jerusalem move has been met with unrest in Gaza and the West Bank, which has left nine people dead.

One of the victims was 29-year-old Ibrahim Abu Thuraya, a Gazan double amputee who lost both legs nine years ago in an Israeli airstrike. As he protested from his wheelchair near the Israeli border, he was shot in the head by a sniper.