The influential Palestinian Islamist group Hamas has called for a new uprising against Israel, starting on Friday. Speaking in Gaza on Thursday, Hamas’ leader Ismail Haniyeh said, “We should call for and we should work on launching an intifada in the face of the Zionist enemy.” He also said, “We want the uprising to last and continue to let Trump and the occupation regret this decision.”
Taking to twitter, Hamas also described the US decision as being a declaration of war.
Meanwhile, the Palestinian Authority has called a general strike in the West Bank and East Jerusalem and schools and shops in these areas remain closed as Palestinians continue protesting against the US’ policy change. Hundreds took to the streets on Wednesday, burning American and Israeli flags and 10 Palestinians were arrested in East Jerusalem overnight after Molotov cocktails were thrown.
Read more: Donald Trump’s Jerusalem decision sparks global outcry
There is a general strike in Gaza and shops and schools remain closed
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is the latest head of state to publicly criticize Trump’s decision. He described Trump’s actions throwing the Middle East into a “ring of fire.”
Saudi Arabia’s royal court made a rare public rebuke of the US on Thursday, saying Trump’s announcement was “unjustified and irresponsible.” The US’ move puts the Sunni nation in a difficult position, because the kingdom has had close ties to Trump and his son-in-law, Jared Kushner.
Indonesian President Joko Widodo, leader of the world’s largest Muslim-majority nation, said on Thursday, “Such unilateral recognition violates various resolutions of the UN Security Council of which the United States is a permanent member. It could also shake global stability.”
Eight members of the UN Security Council, including Germany, Britain, France, Egypt, Italy and Sweden have called for an emergency meeting to discuss the US’s move, which will be held on Friday.
Trump bound to Israel forever
Speaking at Israel’s foreign ministry on Thursday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was full of praise for Trump’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. “President Trump bound himself forever with the history of our capital,” he said. “His name will now be proudly displayed alongside other names in the city’s glorious history.”
Netanyahu also claimed that Israel is in contact with other countries that plan to follow the US’ move. “We are already in contact with other countries that will recognize similar recognition, and I have no doubt that as soon as the American embassy moves to Jerusalem, and before that, many embassies will move to Jerusalem.”
However, he did not name any of these countries.
Read more: Opinion Trump wantonly fans the flames of Middle East conflict
Two-state solution further out of reach
Trump’s recognition of the contested capital has been interpreted by Palestinians as putting an end to the possibility of a two-state solution. In his speech, Trump claimed, “The US remains deeply committed to helping facilitate a peace agreement that is acceptable to both sides,” he said. “I intend to do everything in my power to help forge such an agreement.”
Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh has called for a new Palestinian intifada
However, the secretary-general of the Palestinian Liberation Organization, Saeb Erekat, said that Trump had destroyed all hopes such a peace deal. “He destroyed the two-state solution.” Meanwhile, Hamas has said that Trump’s decision will “open the gates of hell” on US interests in the region.
Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas has described Trump’s announcement as “reprehensible.” He said that it will undermine peace efforts and embolden Israel “to pursue the policy of occupation, settlement, apartheid and ethnic cleansing.”
Abbas is traveling to Jordan on Thursday to meet with King Abdullah II, who is seen as the Palestinians closest Arab ally. There is speculation that the two leaders may try to coordinate a response to Trump’s announcement.
cl/ng (dpa, AP, Reuters, AFP)