Unrest after Trump’s declaration
Thousands of Palestinian protesters clashed with Israeli forces in east Jerusalem and the West Bank, demonstrators in the Gaza Strip burned U.S. flags and pictures of U.S. President Donald Trump, and a top Palestinian official said U.S. Vice President Mike Pence would not be welcome in the West Bank, in a show of rage Thursday over the American decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. Israeli forces were bracing for the possibility of even stronger violence Friday, when tens of thousands of Palestinians attend weekly prayers at Jerusalem’s Al Aqsa Mosque, the city’s most sacred Islamic site. The Palestinians were blindsided by Trump’s move to depart from decades of U.S. policy on Jerusalem and upend longstanding international assurances that the fate of the city would be determined in negotiations. The Palestinians seek east Jerusalem, captured by Israel in 1967 and home to sensitive Jewish, Muslim and Christian holy sites, as their capital.
Parliament allows same-sex marriages
Parliament voted Thursday to allow same-sex marriage across Australia, following a bitter debate settled by a much-criticized government survey of voters who overwhelmingly endorsed legalization. The public gallery in the House of Representatives erupted with applause when the bill passed. It changes the definition of marriage from between a man and a woman to "a union of two people" excluding all others. It passed with a majority that wasn’t challenged, although five lawmakers registered their opposition. The Senate passed the same legislation last week 43 votes to 12. After formalities, the law will likely take effect in about a month, with the first weddings expected about a month later. Amendments meant to safeguard freedoms of speech and religion for gay-marriage opponents were all rejected, though those issues may be considered later. Champagne and tears of flowed in the halls of Parliament House as LGBTQ celebrities hugged lawmakers and other citizens. — tbt* wires