Washington: US President Donald Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital sparked Palestinian protests, clashes and a call for a new intifada on Thursday as fears grew of fresh bloodshed in the region.
Trump’s announcement also prompted an almost universal diplomatic backlash that continued on Thursday, with fresh warnings from Turkey, the European Union and Russia.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu however lavished praise on Trump, saying his name would now be associated with Jerusalem’s long history and urging other countries to follow his lead.
The Israeli military deployed hundreds more troops to the occupied West Bank amid uncertainty over the fallout, while clashes between Palestinians and Israeli security forces erupted in various areas.
Protests were held in West Bank cities including Ramallah, Hebron and Nablus, as well as in the Gaza Strip. Israeli forces dispersed several hundred protesters with tear gas at a checkpoint at the entrance to Ramallah, while the Palestinian Red Crescent reported dozens wounded from tear gas, rubber bullets and live fire in the West Bank. Three Palestinians were wounded east of the city of Khan Yunis in the Gaza Strip, medical sources and witnesses said.
Trump’s defiant move making good on a pledge made during his 2016 presidential campaign -ends seven decades of US ambiguity on the status of the Holy City, which is claimed by both Israelis and Palestinians. Trump said it marks the start of a “new approach” to solving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.