Monday, 19 November, 2018

Palestinians outraged by possible U.S. declaration over Jerusalem

06 Dec 2017, 19:49 ( 11 Months ago)

DF-Xinhua Report
Armed militants belonging to Fatah hold their weapons as they take part in a protest against a possible move by the U.S. to change the status quo of Jerusalem in Gaza City, Dec. 6, 2017. Photo Xinhua.

Palestinians declared three days of rage, starting Wednesday, after the U.S. President Donald Trump informed his Palestinian counterpart Mahmoud Abbas in a telephone call of the intention to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, and possibly move the U.S. embassy there.

Chief of the Islamic Hamas movement Ismail Haniyeh said if the U.S. decision on Jerusalem is taken, "it means ending the peace process," reported Qatari-based news channel Al-Jazeera.

"I agreed with President Abbas on the departure of the masses of the Palestinian people against the expected resolution," Haniyeh added, stressing that "the administration represented by Trump is gambling and the masses of the nation will surprise this administration," hinting at a possible breakout of a new uprising.

Haniyeh slammed Trump's potential declaration, describing it as "an unaccountable gamble and an adventure that will not have a ceiling," and that such a decision will be "the beginning of a time of horrific transformations across the region."

The top Hamas official said "we have called for meetings on the internal and external Palestinian level and we informed President Abbas of the need to end security coordination with the occupation."

Abbas urged the Palestinian people and political factions to unite against "all attempts to harm our rights as guaranteed in international laws and norms," according to a statement published on the official Palestinian news agency WAFA.

Abbas' Fatah party spokesperson Nasser Al-Qudwa said that Fatah movement warned that "any position that would move an embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, whether immediately or in a while because of logistical considerations, is absolutely unacceptable."

Al-Qudwa said the move represents a departure from established U.S. positions that were followed and adopted by successive U.S. administrations, adding that "it also represents a grave violation of international law."

The U.S. 1995 law by the congress adopted Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, requiring that the U.S. embassy in Israel be relocated from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, unless the president issues a waiver every six months.

Since then, all presidents have signed the waiver, believing the city's fate should be decided through negotiations between Israel and Palestine.

This week marks a turning point for Trump, who last signed the waiver in June but informed Abbas Tuesday of his decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital and possible embassy relocation.

Al-Qudwa also said Fatah is calling for a "specific action" in response to the expected U.S. position and measure, and calling for considering the U.S. action as annulling its status as a cosponsor of any peace or political process in the region.

"We also believe that there should be a complaint filed to the Security Council on the basis of the danger violation committed by the United States," he said.

He also urged for more actions to be taken within the UN Security Council to fight back the possible U.S. declaration on Jerusalem.

Member of Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) Executive Committee Hanan Ashrawi discussed with the French Consul General in Jerusalem Pierre Cochard at the PLO office in Ramallah earlier Wednesday "the detrimental outcomes of such an irresponsible and dangerous move and how it will destroy the chances of peace, stability and security indefinitely, unleashing a religious war and a sectarian strife in the region and beyond," said a statement by Ashrawi's office.

The statement said that Ashrawi "affirmed the pressing need for international intervention to prevent such a decision from being adopted and implemented, and to recognize immediately the state of Palestine with Jerusalem as its capital."

The Palestinian Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah was scheduled to arrive in Gaza Wednesday, but his trip was postponed due to current political tensions, according to sources close to Xinhua.

Instead, Hamdallah convened representatives of the diplomatic corps and European Union over the possible U.S. step. He said in an emailed press statement that such a move "would enrage the conflict and inflame violence in the entire region because Jerusalem is not only important to the Palestinians alone, but also Arab and Islamic peoples, who reject this decision."

Hamdallah urged the EU states to recognize Palestine as a state in order to save the two-state solution and the peace process and to exert pressure to implement international legitimacy resolutions.

Meanwhile, demonstrators marched from Al-Saraya Square in central Gaza towards the Unknown Soldier Square in the west side of the city in response to calls by the Palestinian national factions.

The angered Palestinians shouted slogans against Trump's potential move to declare Jerusalem as the capital of Israel or its embassy relocation to the city, raising Palestinian flags and slogans saying "To Trump: Jerusalem is a Red Line" and "We shall protect Jerusalem with our souls and bodies."

Islamic Hamas movement senior figure Salah Al-Bardaweel told Xinhua during the march that this angry demonstration is one step "that we will launch alongside Arab and Islamic states against the U.S. decision regarding Jerusalem."

He described the U.S. move as "very dangerous on the Palestinian question and is considered an attack on a belief and a phrase of our holy Quran, history, heart and soul," pointing out that such a decision "would lead to a wide popular uprising and resistance that would burn the ground and cut off any hand that would harm Jerusalem and sacred places."

Islamic Jihad leader Khaled Al-Batsh said he calls for cutting ties with the United States by the Arabs and Muslims, withdrawing recognition of Israel and pulling out from the Oslo accords signed between the PLO and Israel in 1993.

Mohammad Al-Helou, and elderly Palestinian citizen who took part in the demonstration despite the rainy weather, told Xinhua that "we tell Trump that we reject concession of Jerusalem, which is the capital of the future Palestinian state."

As part of the wide protests, social media activists highlighted the use of social media campaigns in the issue under hashtags of #Jerusalem_Is_Our_Capital and #HandsOffJerusalem.

Last month, the U.S. administration shut down the office of the PLO in Washington, a step that Palestinians described as punitive.

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