ON THE BRINK OF INTIFADA
Trump’s Jerusalem shift sparks fury
Hundreds of Palestinian protesters, enraged by President Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of the Jewish state, clashed with Israeli troops Thursday amid calls by Hamas for a new intifada.
At least 31 people were wounded by Israeli army gunfire when the Palestinian protests erupted in the West Bank, Gaza Strip and East Jerusalem, officials said.
One person was in critical condition after Palestinian medical officials said 11 protesters were hit by live bullets and 20 others by rubber bullets, according to Reuters.
The Israeli military, which denied live fire was used, said troops used “riot-dispersal gear.”
Some protesters chanted, “Death to America!” and “Death to the fool Trump!”
Schools and stores were closed as Palestinians staged a strike to begin three “days of rage” a day after Trump’s announcement, during which he also said the US Embassy will be moved from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem in coming years.
In the Gaza Strip, Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh called on Palestin- ians to abandon peace efforts with Israel and to launch a new intifada, or uprising, on Friday.
“The American decision is an aggression on our people and a war on our sanctuaries,” Haniyeh told supporters. “We want the uprising to last and continue to let Trump and the occupation regret this decision.”
In the West Bank, a throng set tires on fire and hurled stones at Israeli troops. Soldiers fired water cannons and tear gas in Bethlehem to disperse a crowd in clashes that could mar the upcoming Christmas celebrations. And in Ramallah, the seat of the Palestinian government, six people were wounded in protests, according to the Palestinian Red Crescent.
In Jerusalem, protesters gathered at the Damascus Gate in the Old City and chanted, “Trump, you will see, Palestine will be free,” the Jerusalem Post reported.
Meanwhile, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas condemned Trump’s seismic policy shift, saying the US has hurt its credibility.
“Fortunately, there was a positive response from all the countries in the world, from Europe and from Africa and countries close to America that don’t support the US,” said Abbas, who met Thursday with Jordan’s King Abdullah II to rally international opposition.
Federica Mogherini, the foreignpolicy chief of the European Union, said the announcement “has the potential to send us backwards to even darker times than the one we are already living in.”
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said it would put the region in a “ring of fire,” according to AFP, adding, “What kind of approach is this? Political leaders do not stir things up, they seek to make peace.”
BURNING RAGE: A masked man protests Thursday in the West Bank as Israeli soldiers (inset) respond.