Hamas calls for third intifada after US recognizes Jerusalem as Israel's capital

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Hamas calls for new uprising

Ismail Haniyeh, leader of Hamas, has called for a new Palestinian intifada, or uprising, after US President Donald Trump's announcement on Wednesday. Violent protests have erupted in the West Bank.

The influential Palestinian Islamist group Hamas has called for a new uprising against Israel, starting on Friday. Speaking in Gaza on Thursday, Hamas' leader Ismail Haniyeh said, "We should call for and we should work on launching an intifada in the face of the Zionist enemy." He also said, "We want the uprising to last and continue to let Trump and the occupation regret this decision."

Read more: US Embassy move to Jerusalem could spark 'third intifada' Germany's former ambassador says

Taking to Twitter, Hamas also described the US decision as being a declaration of war.

Meanwhile, there have been violent clashes between Palestinian protesters and Israeli troops across the West Bank and along the Gaza-Israel border, with stones being hurled at anti-riot troops. Israeli soldiers turned water cannons on Palestinians in Bethlehem, and fired tear gas. Around 15 demonstrators were reportedly wounded, according to the Palestinian Red Crescent.

The Palestinian Authority has called a general strike in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, and schools and shops in these areas remain closed. Hundreds took to the streets on Wednesday, burning American and Israeli flags and 10 Palestinians were arrested in East Jerusalem overnight after Molotov cocktails were thrown. 

Hamas' declaration has heightened fears that violence and unrest on the streets of the Israeli-occupied territories could escalate in the coming days. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu indicated that the Israeli military would be deploying more troops to the West Bank ahead of Friday's planned protests.

Read more: Donald Trump's Jerusalem decision sparks global outcry

Gaza - Generalstreikt

There is a general strike in Gaza and shops and schools remain closed

Worldwide condemnation

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is the latest head of state to publicly criticize Trump's decision. He described Trump's actions as throwing the Middle East into a "ring of fire."

Saudi Arabia's royal court made a rare public rebuke of the US on Thursday, saying Trump's announcement was "unjustified and irresponsible." The US' move puts the Sunni nation in a difficult position, because the kingdom has had close ties to Trump and his son-in-law, Jared Kushner.

Iraq's senior Shiite cleric, Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, said Trump's announcement had "hurt the feelings of hundreds of millions of Arabs and Muslims.'' He called on the "Umma," or Islamic nation, to combine forces to restore Palestinian sovereignty over Jerusalem — no matter how long it takes.

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West Bank - Proteste gegen Jerusalem-Status in Ramallah

The West Bank has erupted in violence

Indonesian President Joko Widodo, leader of the world's largest Muslim-majority nation, said on Thursday, "Such unilateral recognition violates various resolutions of the UN Security Council, of which the United States is a permanent member. It could also shake global stability."   

Eight members of the UN Security Council, including Britain, France, Egypt, Italy and Sweden have called for an emergency meeting to discuss the US' move, which will be held on Friday.

This comes after many countries sought to distance themselves from US policy on Wednesday. German government spokesman Steffen Seibert wrote on Twitter that the German government "does not support this position because the status of Jerusalem can only be negotiated within the framework of a two-state solution." 

Trump bound to Israel forever

Speaking at Israel's foreign ministry on Thursday, Israel's Netanyahu was full of praise for Trump's decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital. "President Trump bound himself forever with the history of our capital," he said. "His name will now be proudly displayed alongside other names in the city's glorious history."

Jerusalem - Israelische und die Amerikanische Flagge am Rathaus

Israeli and American flags were hung on Jerusalem's city hall

Netanyahu also claimed that Israel is in contact with other countries that plan to follow the US' move. "We are already in contact with other countries that will make a similar recognition, and I have no doubt that as soon as the American embassy moves to Jerusalem, and before that, many embassies will move to Jerusalem."

However, he did not name any of these countries.

Read more: Opinion Trump wantonly fans the flames of Middle East conflict

Two-state solution further out of reach

Trump's recognition of the contested capital has been interpreted by Palestinians as putting an end to the possibility of a two-state solution. In his speech, Trump claimed, "The US remains deeply committed to helping facilitate a peace agreement that is acceptable to both sides," he said. "I intend to do everything in my power to help forge such an agreement."

Gaza - PK von Hamas-Chef Ismail Haniyeh wegen Jerusalem-Status

Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh has called for a new Palestinian intifada

However, the secretary-general of the Palestine Liberation Organization, Saeb Erekat, said that Trump had destroyed all hopes of such a peace deal. "He destroyed the two-state solution." Meanwhile, Hamas has said that Trump's decision will "open the gates of hell" on US interests in the region.

Karte US Botschaft Israel Umzug ENG

Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas has described Trump's announcement as "reprehensible." He said that it will undermine peace efforts and embolden Israel "to pursue the policy of occupation, settlement, apartheid and ethnic cleansing."

Abbas is traveling to Jordan on Thursday to meet with King Abdullah II, who is seen as the Palestinians' closest Arab ally. There is speculation that the two leaders may try to coordinate a response to Trump's announcement.

The competing claims to Jerusalem, particularly the Old City, with its significant Jewish, Muslim and Christian holy sites, lies at the heart of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Trump's decision has profound symbolic meaning for both sides.

A spokesman for Lebanon's Shiite movement Hezbollah, which is part of the government in Beirut, described Trump's declaration as a "treacherous and malicious aggression" against the rights of Palestinians," adding that the only way for them to restore their lost rights was through armed "resistance."

Lebanon is technically still at war with Israel, although there have been no recorded instances of fighting since 2006. Repeated Hezbollah attacks forced Israel to withdraw from southern Lebanon in 2000, and the group went to war with Israel once again in 2006.


Jerusalem, the city of David

According to the Old Testament, David, king of the two partial kingdoms of Judah and Israel, won Jerusalem from the Jebusites around 1000 BC. He moved his seat of government to Jerusalem, making it the capital and religious center of his kingdom. The Bible says David's son Solomon built the first temple for Yahweh, the God of Israel. Jerusalem became the center of Judaism.


Under Persian rule

The Neo-Babylonian King Nebuchadnezzar II (3rd from the left) conquered Jerusalem in 597 and again in 586 BC, as the Bible says. He took King Jehoiakim (5th from the right) and the Jewish upper class into captivity, sent them to Babylon and destroyed the temple. After Persian king Cyrus the Great seized Babylon, he allowed the exiled Jews to return home to Jerusalem and to rebuild their temple.


Under Roman and Byzantine rule

The Roman Empire ruled Jerusalem from the year 63 AD. Resistance movements rapidly formed among the population, so that in 66 AD, the First Jewish–Roman War broke out. The war ended 4 years later, with a Roman victory and another destruction of the temple in Jerusalem. The Romans and Byzantines ruled Palestine for approximately 600 years.


Conquest by the Arabs

Over the course of the Islamic conquest of Greater Syria, Muslim armies also reached Palestine. By order of the Caliph Umar (in the picture), Jerusalem was besieged and captured in the year 637 AD. In the following era of Muslim rule, various, mutually hostile and religiously divided rulers presided over the city. Jerusalem was often besieged and changed hands several times.


The Crusades

From 1070 AD onward, the Muslim Seljuk rulers increasingly threatened the Christian world. Pope Urban II called for the First Crusade, which took Jerusalem in 1099 AD. Over a period of 200 years a total of nine crusades set out to conquer the city as it changed hands between Muslim and Christian rule. In 1244 AD the crusaders finally lost control of the city and it once again became Muslim.


The Ottomans and the British

After the conquest of Egypt and Arabia by the Ottomans, Jerusalem became the seat of an Ottoman administrative district in 1535 AD. In its first decades of Ottoman rule, the city saw a clear revival. With a British victory over Ottoman troops in 1917 AD, Palestine fell under British rule. Jerusalem went to the British without a fight.


The divided city

After World War II, the British gave up their Palestinian Mandate. The UN voted for a division of the country in order to create a home for the survivors of the Holocaust. Some Arab states then went to war against Israel and conquered part of Jerusalem. Until 1967, the city was divided into an Israeli west and a Jordanian east.


East Jerusalem goes back to Israel

In 1967, Israel waged the Six-Day War against Egypt, Jordan and Syria. Israel took control of the Sinai, the Gaza Strip, the West Bank, the Golan Heights and East Jerusalem. Israeli paratroopers gained access to the Old City and stood at the Wailing Wall for the first time since 1949. East Jerusalem is not officially annexed, but rather integrated into the administration.


Muslim pilgrimage to Israel

Israel has not denied Muslims access to its holy places. The Temple Mount is under an autonomous Muslim administration; Muslims can enter, visit the Dome of the Rock and the adjacent Al-Aqsa mosque and pray there.


Unresolved status

Jerusalem remains to this day an obstacle to peace between Israel and Palestine. In 1980, Israel declared the whole city its "eternal and indivisible capital." After Jordan gave up its claim to the West Bank and East Jerusalem in 1988, the state of Palestine was proclaimed. Palestine also declares, in theory, Jerusalem as its capital.

dm, cl/msh (dpa, AP, Reuters, AFP)