Palestinians protest Jerusalem recognition as Hamas leader calls for ‘new intifada’


JERUSALEM (JTA) — The Israel Defense Forces beefed up its presence in the West Bank as Palestinians demonstrated against U.S. recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

Protests erupted Thursday in the city of Ramallah as the Palestinian Authority called for a general strike across the West Bank, leaving stores shuttered and school cancelled. Video of the protests on CNN showed an American flag being burned.

The actions came hours after the announcement by President Donald Trump that he recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

Hundreds of Palestinians protested in sites across the West Bank, burning tires as well as American and Israeli flags and throwing rocks at Israeli security forces and Israeli cars. Protesters and soldiers also clashed in Jerusalem’s Old City, including at a demonstration at the Damascus Gate. In Nablus, protesters burned an effigy of President Donald Trump as part of the protest. Clashes also occurred in Bethlehem.

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Israeli troops have used rubber bullets and tear gas to control the demonstrators. At least eight Palestinians have been injured in the Thursday clashes.  The Israeli military deployed extra battalions throughout the West Bank in response to the protests.

PA President Mahmoud Abbas was scheduled to travel to Jordan on Thursday to coordinate a response to Trump’s decision with King Abdullah II.

Following the announcement, Palestinian officials turned off the lights of the giant Christmas tree in the Bethlehem in protest.

In Gaza, Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh called for a new intifada, or uprising. “We should call for and we should work on launching an intifada in the face of the Zionist enemy,” Haniyeh said.

Haniyeh called for the uprising to begin Friday as an “expression of rage,” against the U.S. decision, saying, “Let December 8 be the first day of the intifada against the occupier.”

“The only way to deal with the Zionist policy, which has backing from the United States, is sparking a new intifada against the occupation and welcome resistance to this occupation,” he said, according to Haaretz.

Palestinians in Gaza on Thursday continued to demonstrate against the recognition while burning U.S. and Israeli flags.

Reversing decades of American foreign policy, President Donald Trump on Wednesday signed a proclamation recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and directing the State Department to start planning to move the U.S. embassy to the city. The embassy is currently in Tel Aviv.

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