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Palestinians and Arabs React to Trump’s Statement

Small-scale Rioting Breaks Out in West Bank, Gaza Strip

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7 Dec 2017 (All day)
Palestinians and Arabs React to Trump’s Statement
Ismail Haniyeh, Politburo Chief for the Islamist terror militia Hamas, issued a statement late Tuesday demanding that the Palestinian people launch an “Intifada” or armed uprising in response to the US recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. He also urged all Palestinian factions to resolve their differences and “overcome all the issues and details in order to turn our attention to Jerusalem and al-Aksa.” His sentiments were indeed echoed by the leaders of several other Palestinian factions, including the PA.

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas issued a statement following Trump’s White House speech on Wednesday afternoon declaring, “These condemned and unacceptable measures are a deliberate undermining of all efforts exerted to achieve peace and represent a declaration of the United States withdrawal from undertaking the role it has played over the past decades in sponsoring the peace process.” He added that the speech would “reward Israel for denying agreements and defying international law, and encourage it to continue its policy of occupation, settlements, apartheid and ethnic cleansing.”

Several influential leaders of universities, civil society, media outlets and political factions throughout the Arab and Muslim world issued similar statements, with street protests also taking place in front of US embassies and consulates in several Arab capitals. However, expectations of concrete action in response to Trump’s move were muted.

“So far, Arab governments are busy with their own internal affairs,” said Mkhaimar Abusada, a political scientist at al-Azhar University in Gaza. “The Gulf countries are preoccupied with the war in Yemen and with containing the Iranian/Shi’ite threat, so we probably won’t hear a thing from them.”

Regarding street protests, he predicted a show of force by disgruntled populaces in Muslim countries, but added “I don’t think we will see protests that destabilize the regimes” in those countries. “It touches the feeling of Muslims,” he explained. “Trump is not recognizing west Jerusalem as the capital, he’s recognizing Jerusalem without differentiating between east and west. In a way, it will be seen as recognizing the occupation of al-Aksa.”

As of Thursday afternoon, some demonstrations in the West Bank and at the fence separating the Gaza Strip with Israel had turned violent, with small numbers of rioters and Israeli security personnel suffering wounds of various degrees of seriousness.


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