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Hamas leader calls for new intifada over Trump decision

December 7, 2017 at 2:53 pm

Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh calls for a new intifada in support of Jerusalem following US President Donald Trump’s decision to recognise the city as the capital of Israel [Mohammed Asad/Middle East Monitor]

Hamas has called for a new intifada to counter Trump’s decision to recognise Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.

The group’s leader, Ismail Haniyeh, called on all Palestinians to take to the streets tomorrow and start protests, “launching an intifada in the face of the Zionist enemy”.

Speaking at a news conference in Gaza, Haniyeh said: “Let December 8 be the first day of the intifada against the occupier.”

Intifada - Cartoon [Sarwar Ahmed/MiddleEastMonitor]

Intifada – Cartoon [Sarwar Ahmed/MiddleEastMonitor]

There have been two previous intifadas, or mass uprisings, in the history of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. The first took place from 1987 after an Israeli army truck killed four Palestinians and ended in 1993 with the signing of the Oslo Accords. The Second Intifada was exceptionally bloody, starting from 2000 when the right-wing Israeli leader Ariel Sharon provocatively visited Al-Aqsa Mosque uninvited, and ending in 2005 with Israel withdrawing from the Gaza Strip.

US President Donald Trump announced his recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel yesterday, sparking protests around the world and widespread condemnation from countries both in the region and beyond, including British Prime Minister Theresa May and main rival Jeremy Corbyn.

Among a myriad of issues that Trump’s announcement brings is the fact that it harms the long-awaited settlement of a two-state solution, in which the Palestinians aim to have East Jerusalem as their capital.

Both Haniyeh and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas have voiced their loss of hope of the US being a viable mediator of the conflict.

Read: Trump’s move on Jerusalem: Is this the end of US diplomacy in the Middle East?

Haniyeh has urged Abbas to withdraw from the peace process and boycott the Trump administration, insisting that “the so-called peace agreement was buried, once and for all, and that there is nothing called a partner for the Palestinians in peace.”

Meanwhile Abbas has announced that “this is a historical moment and we must act…the US can no longer function as a diplomatic sponsor and [peace] mediator,” as the decision encourages the occupation, the building of illegal settlements, and sends the message that “the two-state solution is over”.

The Palestinian Authority closed schools today and shop owners in occupied East Jerusalem and the West Bank went on strike in opposition of Trump’s decision. The lights at the grave of former Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat have been turned off, and the mayor of Bethlehem has also ordered all Christmas lights to be switched off.