Donald Trump's announcement about Jerusalem as Israel's capital sparked a Palestinian general strike

Dec 08, 2017, 10:03 IST | Agencies

Trump's recognition of Holy City as Israel capital sparks calls for new intifada and fears of fresh bloodshed, as world leaders continue to look down on announcement

US President Donald Trump's recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital sparked a Palestinian general strike and a call for a new intifada yesterday as fears grew of fresh bloodshed in the region. The Israeli military deployed hundreds of more troops to the occupied West Bank. Medics said at least 31 people were wounded by Israeli army gunfire when Palestinian protests erupted in the West Bank and Gaza Strip on Thursday.

A Palestinian protester wears a Guy Fawkes mask used by the anonymous movement during clashes with Israeli troops on December 7 in Hebron, in the Israeli-occupied West Bank. Pic/AFP
A Palestinian protester wears a Guy Fawkes mask used by the anonymous movement during clashes with Israeli troops on December 7 in Hebron, in the Israeli-occupied West Bank. Pic/AFP

They said 11 were hit by live bullets and 20 by rubber bullets. One person was in a critical condition. Some protesters threw rocks at soldiers and others chanted: "Death to America! Death to the fool Trump!". Palestinian shops in east Jerusalem were largely shuttered and schools closed yesterday after a general strike was called.

Trump's announcement prompted an almost universal diplomatic backlash that continued yesterday, with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan warning it would put the region in a "ring of fire". Hamas leader Ismail Haniya called for a new intifada, or uprising, in a speech in Gaza City. Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas said Trump's move disqualifies US from its traditional role as peace broker in the Middle East conflict. Saudi Arabia called the move "unjustified and irresponsible." Erdogan asked: "Hey Trump! What do you want to do? "What kind of approach is this? Political leaders do not stir things up, they seek to make peace," he said.

Trump's move left many angry US allies struggling to find a diplomatic response. Through gritted teeth, Britain described the move as "unhelpful" and France called it "regrettable." Germany said plainly that it "does not support" the decision.

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Netanyahu: Many will follow US recognition
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Thursday many countries would follow the United States in recognising Jerusalem as Israel's capital. "I would like to announce that we are already in contact with other countries which will issue a similar recognition," Netanyahu said. He did not name any of these countries.

UNSC emergency meet to discuss move
The United Nations Security Council has convened an emergency meeting today after Trump's recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital. At least eight of the 15 members of the Security Council, including Britain and France joined by other non-permanent members asked for the special meeting. The UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres is expected to address the meeting.

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