JERUSALEM/GAZA (Reuters) – The Islamist group Hamas urged Palestinians on Thursday to abandon peace efforts and launch a new uprising against Israel in response to U.S. President Donald Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as its capital.
Palestinian factions called for a “Day of Rage” on Friday, and a wave of protest in the West Bank and Gaza on Thursday brought clashes between Palestinians and Israeli troops. At least 31 people were wounded by Israeli gunfire and rubber bullets, medics said.
The Israeli military said an aircraft and a tank had targeted two posts belonging to militants in the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip after three rockets were launched at Israel.
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.
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 recognising 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.
“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.
Naser Al-Qidwa, an aide to Western-backed Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and senior official in his Fatah party, urged Palestinians to stage peaceful protests.
Abbas on Thursday met Jordan’s King Abdullah, whose dynasty is the traditional custodian of Jerusalem’s holy places. Jordan is a staunch U.S. ally but has dismissed Trump’s move as “legally null”.
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. No other country has its…