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Hamas: US decision on Jerusalem is a war declaration

Monitoring Desk

GAZA: Hamas leader Ismail Haniya has said the US decision on recognising Jerusalem as the capital of Israel is a “war declaration against Palestinians”, and called for a new “Intifada”, or uprising.

Haniya said in a speech in Gaza City on Thursday that US President Donald Trump’s recognition “killed” the Israeli-Palestinian peace process.

“This decision has killed the peace process, has killed the Oslo [accord], has killed the settlement process,” he said.

“The US decision is an ag-gression, a declaration of war on us, on the best Muslim and Christian shrines in the heart of Palestine, Jerusalem.”

“We should work on launching an intifada in the face of the Zionist enemy,” Haniya said.

The group’s leader, Ismail Haniyeh, called for Palestinians to launch protests from Friday and for Muslim countries to cut ties with the U.S.

Speaking at a televized news conference in Gaza City, he said: “We call on the Palestinian people to take to the streets on Friday to launch a new Intifada with a view to defending Jerusalem.”

Hours after his speech, Palestinian protesters took to the streets of the occupied West Bank cities, including Ramallah, Hebron and Nablus, as well as in the Gaza Strip, to vent their frustration at the US decision.

Haniya stressed the fact that the Palestinians see Jerusalem as united and the capital of their future state.

“Jerusalem, all of Jerusalem, is ours,” he said.

“We are here today at a critical point in the history of the Palestinian issue and the core of the issue is Jerusalem, a critical point in the history of the Arab and Muslim nations following the provocative decision, the unfair decision adopted by the US administration.”

He called on all Palestinian factions to unite quickly “in order to have the strategy to confront the occupation and the US administration policies inside the Palestinian Territories”.

“We urge, we ask and we stress the necessity of rearranging the Palestinian situation to confront this dangerous plot and to put our priorities clearly to face that provocative decision, that unfair decision,” he said.

On Thursday, Mustafa Barghouti, the secretary general of the Palestinian National Initiative, speaking to Al Jazeera from Ramallah, said that Trump was “joining Israel in the war crimes and in confirming the annexation of the occupied Palestinian Territories”.

“I hope that the Palestinian Authority will not accept to meet with this American team anymore,” he said.

“Israel decided it wants everything. They want everything? Fine. We will also fight for everything,” he said.

“We might be talking about a popular wide uprising but non-violent one, similar to the first intifada. That’s what we need. Israelis should see the Palestinian resistance everywhere.”

Meanwhile, Palestinian resistance group Islamic Jihad on Thursday urged Arab and Muslim countries to stop normalizing relations with Israel. The appeal came in response to U.S. President Donald Trump’s announcement one day earlier that Washington planned to move its Israel embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem and recognize the latter city as Israel’s official capital.

The Palestinian group also called on Arab and Muslim states to “end their alliance and friendship with the U.S.”

“We implore Arabs and Muslims to stop taking America as a friend and ally after it chose to stand entirely on Israel’s side,” group spokesman Dawoud Shehab said at a press conference in Gaza City.

“We demand that the [2002] Arab Peace Initiative be shelved and that Arab states stop normalizing relations with the Israeli occupation and close all Israeli diplomatic missions inside their countries,” he said.

Shehab also called on the Palestine Liberation Organization to withdraw its recognition of what he described as the “Zionist entity” in response to the controversial move by the U.S.

Jerusalem remains at the core of the Israel-Palestine conflict, with Palestinians hoping that East Jerusalem — now occupied by Israel — might eventually serve as the capital of a future Palestinian state.

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