Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh. The influential Palestinian Islamist group Hamas on Thursday called for a new uprising against Israel (intifada) in the wake of Donald Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of the state of Israel. / Photo taken December 7, 2017 / REUTERS / Mohammed Salem

The leader of the terrorist group Hamas called for a new “intifada” or uprising against Israel Thursday after President Trump announced the recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and said the United States would begin the lengthy process of moving the Embassy to the city. 

The encouragement to revolt came as clashes between hundreds of Palestinian protesters and Israeli troops erupted across the West Bank Thursday. Demonstrators in Gaza burned posters of Trump and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, as well as U.S. and Israeli flags, as part of “three days of rage” that began Wednesday.

Trump’s controversial decision upended decades of U.S. policy on Jerusalem and countered long-standing international assurances to the Palestinians that the fate of the ancient city, claimed by Israelis and Palestinians, would be determined in negotiations.

In a news conference in the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip, the group’s chief, Ismail Haniya, said that Washington’s decision to reverse its policy amounted to a “war declaration against Palestinians” that “killed” the peace process.

“We have given instruction to all Hamas members and to all its wings to be fully ready for any new instructions or orders that may be given to confront this strategic danger that threatens Jerusalem and threatens Palestine,” he said.

Haniya said the uprising should start Friday. “We want the uprising to last and continue to let Trump and the occupation regret this decision,” he said.

At least 17 Palestinians, one seriously, were injured in Thursday’s clashes, but Friday, the Muslim holy day, could be a bigger test when Palestinians gather for mass prayers.

Meanwhile, the chorus of international condemnation grew Thursday.

U.S. allies France and the United Kingdom said they disapproved of Trump’s decision. Saudi Arabia, a key American ally in the Middle East, called it “irresponsible.” Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan warned it would throw “the region into a ring of fire.” Federica Mogherini, the European Union’s top foreign policy diplomat, said “the announcement has the potential to send us backwards to even darker times than the one we are already living in.”

Mogherini called for calm and appealed for “the status quo of the holy places” in Jerusalem to be preserved. The United Nations Security Council is expected to meet for talks and a briefing Friday over the policy change.

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SOURCE: USA Today, Kim Hjelmgaard