Hamas has rallied Palestinians to observe Friday as a Day of Rage and to abandon peace efforts in the region.
Hamas called for the uprising against Israel in response to U.S. President Donald Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as its capital.
“We should call for and we should work on launching an intifada (Palestinian uprising) in the face of the Zionist enemy,” Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh said in a speech in Gaza.On Friday’s “Day of Rage,” rallies and protests are expected near Israeli-controlled checkpoints in the West Bank and along the border with Gaza.
Friday prayers at the Muslim shrine of Al-Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem could also be a flashpoint.
The protests began today in the West Bank and Gaza, with clashes between Palestinians and Israeli troops. At least 31 people were wounded by Israeli gunfire and rubber bullets, medics said.
The Israeli military said late on Thursday two rockets had been fired toward Israel from the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip, but did not cross into Israeli territory.
A Jihadist Salafi group in Gaza called the Al-Tawheed Brigades – which does not heed the call from the enclave’s dominant force, Hamas, to desist from firing rockets – claimed responsibility for the launches.
The military said it was reinforcing troops in the occupied West Bank.
Medics said 11 people had been hit by live bullets and 20 by rubber bullets in the Thursday unrest. One was in critical condition.
Some protesters threw rocks at soldiers and others chanted: “Death to America! Death to the fool Trump!”
Trump reversed decades of U.S. policy on Wednesday by recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, angering the Arab world and upsetting Western allies.
The status of Jerusalem, home to sites considered holy to Muslims, Jews and Christians, is one of the biggest obstacles to a peace agreement between Israel and the Palestinians.
Naser Al-Qidwa, an aide to Western-backed Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and senior official in his Fatah party, urged Palestinians to stage protests on Friday but said they should be peaceful.
Abbas on Thursday met Jordan’s King Abdullah, whose dynasty is traditional custodian of Jerusalem’s holy places. Jordan is a staunch U.S. ally but has dismissed Trump’s move as “legally null”.
Palestinian news agency Wafa said Abbas updated the king on “the imminent dangers in light of the decision by U.S. President Donald Trump to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of the occupation state, and the mechanism of future steps to protect the holy city”.
Israel considers Jerusalem its eternal and indivisible capital. Palestinians want the capital of an independent state of their own to be in the city’s eastern sector, which Israel captured in the 1967 Middle East war and annexed in a move never recognised internationally.
Trump announced that his administration would begin a process of moving the U.S. Embassy in Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, a step expected to take years and which his predecessors had opted not to take in order to avoid inflaming tensions.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu hailed Trump’s announcement as a “historic landmark” and said many countries would follow the U.S. move and contacts were under way. He did not name the countries.
“President Trump has immortalised himself in the chronicles of our capital. His name will now be held aloft, alongside other names connected to the glorious history of Jerusalem and of our people,” he said in a speech at Israel’s Foreign Ministry.
Close Western allies of Washington, including France and Britain, have been critical of Trump’s move. Pope Francis has called for Jerusalem’s status quo to be respected, while China and Russia have expressed concern.
The EU’s foreign policy chief, Federica Mogherini, said Jerusalem must be the capital of both Israel and a future Palestinian state.
The United Nations Security Council is likely to meet on Friday to discuss the U.S. decision, diplomats said.
Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Turkish counterpart Tayyip Erdogan spoke by phone on Thursday and expressed serious concern about the decision, the Kremlin said on Thursday.
Trump’s decision has raised doubts about his administration’s ability to follow through on a peace effort that his son-in-law and senior adviser, Jared Kushner, has led for months aimed at reviving long-stalled negotiations.