Dozens of people were injured in the West Bank on Thursday as Palestinian protesters clashed with Israeli security forces over US President Donald Trump’s controversial decision on Jerusalem.
Trump on Wednesday announced that the US recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and would move its embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, drawing condemnation from world leaders and sending shock waves through the Muslim world.
Both Israelis and Palestinians claim the holy city as their capital.
The Red Crescent said 49 people were injured in the protests, in which Israeli security officers fired what appeared to be rubber bullets, tear gas and water cannon at demonstrators in Jerusalem, Bethlehem and Ramallah, as well as other towns. Protesters in Ramallah were seen setting tires alight and throwing rocks at armed Israeli officers.
A 27-year-old, Abdalla, showed CNN reporters a rubber bullet injury on his right forearm.
Speaking in Jerusalem, Israeli police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld told CNN that protests there were relatively small and had been largely contained.
“We’ve dealt with much larger, both in terms of number, scale, size, seriousness of incidents.”
Hamas calls for Palestinian uprising
As the protests took place, the leader of the Palestinian Islamist group Hamas called for a new “intifada,” or uprising, Thursday.
Ismail Haniyeh said in Gaza that Israel’s policies supported by the United States “could only be confronted by a renewed intifada against the occupation” and he described the US-Israeli alliance “satanic.”
“Palestine will not be divided and the whole of Palestine and the whole of Jerusalem are the property of the Palestinian people,” he said.
“It is a declaration of war against our Palestinian people in their holiest of holy places of the Christians and Muslims.”
He added that the announcement had left the decades-long peace process “buried forever.”
Leaders of the Iran-backed Palestinian Islamic Jihad group, Nafeth Azzam and Ahmed al-Batsh, said they were also ready for a new armed struggle. They called on the governing Palestinian Authority to stop all security coordination with Israel, to withdraw its recognition of Israel and to declare an end to the Oslo agreements, which are the basis of peace negotiations.
Trump’s announcement bucked decades of US foreign policy and raised fears that the peace process, already stalled, could now be finished.
Trump had promised to make the policy change during the election campaign period, saying on Wednesday the US was acknowledging “the obvious.”
“This is nothing more or less than a recognition of reality. It is also the right thing to do,” he said.
Muslim world reacts
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu addressed a conference of foreign diplomats in Jerusalem on Thursday, saying that other countries had begun pledging to also recognize the city as Israel’s capital.
“Welcome to Jerusalem, the capital of Israel, if you weren’t aware of it. We have been aware of this for 3,000 years,” he said at the event.
But key US allies, including the UK and Australia, made clear they did not plan to follow Trump’s lead on the issue.
Outside the US embassy in the Jordanian capital, Amman, around 200 people gathered to protest the US policy on Jerusalem. One woman held a poster of Trump with a snake for a tongue and a message reading: “America is the plague and the plague is America.”
Leaders of Muslim-majority nations were quick to lambast Trump’s remarks.
The announcement was like “pulling the pin of a grenade,” Turkey’s Prime Minister Binali Yildrim said, according to the country’s state broadcaster TRT Haber.
“It is a powerful blow to the Israeli-Palestinian peace process. This decision opened Pandora’s box in the region,” Yildirim added in a written statement.
The Pakistani foreign ministry expressed its “strong opposition and condemnation” of the announcement, in a statement on Wednesday.
“Pakistan shares the international outrage and is deeply concerned over the implications of this decision for international peace and security, especially in the Middle East. Pakistan calls upon the UN Security Council to take cognizance of this situation and take steps in accordance with the UN Charter,” the statement said.
The Iraqi foreign ministry summoned the US ambassador in order to present him with a memorandum “protesting the US president’s decision regarding Jerusalem.”
Jordanian Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi said the announcement marked a “dangerous decision” that would benefit radicals in the region.
In Indonesia, the world’s most populous Muslim nation, President Joko Widodo said he had asked his foreign minister to summon the US ambassador over the issue.
“Indonesia strongly condemns the United States’ unilateral recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and asks the United States to reconsider its decision,” Widodo said. “This could destabilize global security.”
And Malaysia’s foreign ministry called it a “miscarriage of justice.”
“Recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, ignores the reality on the ground, endorses Israel repressive policies, violates Palestinian human rights and contravenes international law,” it said in a statement.