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    Palestinians, Muslims Worldwide Protest Trump’s Jerusalem Move

    Thousands of Palestinians have protested in a “day of rage” in the occupied West Bank, Gaza Strip, and in East Jerusalem, the second straight day of protests and violence after U.S. President Donald Trump’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.
    Hundreds of Palestinians clashed with Israeli security forces in the West Bank cities of Hebron, Bethlehem, and Ramallah, with protesters throwing stones at Israeli soldiers who responded with tear gas and rubber bullets.
    Thousands also rallied outside Jerusalem’s Al-Aqsa Mosque, a flashpoint site in the holy city, and in the Gaza Strip, where thousands of people marched through the streets to denounce Trump’s decision.
    Palestinian health officials said 13 people were wounded by live fire and 47 by rubber bullets in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. Dozens more suffered from tear-gas inhalation, medics said.
    Israel had deployed hundreds of additional police in Jerusalem as the Islamist group Hamas urged Palestinians to abandon peace efforts and launch a new uprising or “intifada” to protest Trump’s move.
    U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said on December 8 that it would likely take several years before the U.S. Embassy would open in Jerusalem.
    Tillerson, speaking in Paris, also said Trump’s recognition of the city as Israel’s capital “did not indicate any final status for Jerusalem.”
    His comments came as the EU’s foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini said the “only realistic solution is based on two states with Jerusalem as the capital of both states.”
    Meanwhile, Ankara said Russian President Vladimir Putin will visit Turkey next week for talks with his counterpart, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, on a range of issues, including the United States’ recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.
    Demonstrations of solidarity with the Palestinians were staged throughout the Middle East and other Muslim-majority states.
    In Iran, tens of thousands of people rallied nationwide after Friday Prayers, with protesters in Tehran chanting “Death to America” and “Death to Israel” and burning U.S. and Israeli flags.
    Tehran’s Friday Prayers leader, Ayatollah Ahmad Khatami, said Trump’s move proved that the “only solution to the Palestinian issue is an intifada.”
    “Inflict as much damage as you can on this occupying and criminal regime,” Khatami said, referring to Israel.
    Two previous intifadas — from 1987-1993 and 2000-2005 — claimed the lives of thousands of Palestinians and over 1,000 Israelis.
    Thousands of Lebanese and Palestinians marched in the streets of Beirut and thousands of others gathered near the Palestinian refugee camp of Chatilla in southern Lebanon.
    In Turkey, thousands of people gathered outside a mosque in Istanbul’s conservative Fatih district after Friday Prayers, waving Palestinian flags and chanting slogans against the United States and Israel.
    Hundreds of Egyptians held protests at the famous Al-Azhar Mosque in Cairo following Friday Prayers amid tightened security.
    In Pakistan, rallies took place in the cities of Islamabad, Lahore, and Karachi, with protesters burning effigies of Trump and chanting “Down with America” and “Down with Israel.”
    More than 1,000 Afghans staged protests in central Kabul, with demonstrators holding banners reading “Death to Israel” and “Death to America” and burning effigies of Trump as well as American and Israeli flags.
    The status of Jerusalem is one of the most sensitive issues of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
    Palestinians regard it as the capital of their future state. Israel has annexed East Jerusalem and declared all of the city as its capital, a move never recognized by the international community. Most countries have their embassies in Tel Aviv.
    In his announcement, Trump said he would move the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, a move experts say could take three to four years.
    He said the decision would “finally acknowledge the obvious — that Jerusalem is Israel’s capital” and that he still intends “to do everything in my power to help force” a peace agreement acceptable to both Israelis and Palestinians.
    U.S. allies from Germany and Saudi Arabia to Britain and the European Union condemned Trump’s decision and said it would make negotiating peace in the region more difficult.
    rferl.org

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