JERUSALEM: Thousands of Palestinians protested in a “day of rage” on Friday in the occupied West Bank, Gaza and in East Jerusalem against U.S. President Donald Trump’s recognition of the ancient city as Israel’s capital.
Across the Arab and Muslim worlds, thousands of demonstrators took to the streets on Friday, the Muslim holy day, expressing solidarity with the Palestinians and outrage at the U.S. move.
As Friday prayers ended at the Al Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem, worshippers made their way toward the walled Old City gates, chanting “Jerusalem is ours, Jerusalem is our capital,” and “We don’t need empty words, we need stones and Kalashnikovs”. Some scuffles broke out between protesters and police.
Trump’s decision to reverse decades of U.S. policy and recognize Jerusalem has been met by days of protests, although violence so far has largely been contained.
By midday Friday there had been no reports of deaths in two days of demonstrations in the Palestinian territories. Thirty-one Palestinians were wounded on Thursday.
Clashes began in some spots of the West Bank after Friday prayers, though the unrest appeared less intense than the previous day. In Hebron and Bethlehem, dozens of Palestinians threw stones at Israeli soldiers who fired back with tear gas.
In Gaza, calls for worshippers to protest sounded over mosque loudspeakers and dozens of youths burnt tires on the main streets of the enclave, controlled by the Hamas group, and hundreds rallied toward the border with Israel.
Hamas has called for a new Palestinian uprising like the “intifadas” of 1987-1993 and 2000-2005 that together saw thousands of Palestinians and more than 1,000 Israelis killed.
“Whoever moves his embassy to occupied Jerusalem will become an enemy of the Palestinians and a target of Palestinian factions,” said Hamas leader Fathy Hammad as protesters in Gaza burnt posters of Trump. “We declare an intifada until the liberation of Jerusalem and all of Palestine.”