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Hamas calls for 'intifada' in response to Trump’s Jerusalem bid

Palestinians throw stones in Ramallah as part of the First Intifada in 1989
ERIC FEFERBERG/AFP
'The whole world will pay the price of any folly aimed at Jerusalem', warned PA president Abbas's adviser

Gaza-based Hamas warned United States President Donald Trump on Saturday of the inflammatory consequences of his impending decision to declare Jerusalem as the “unified and eternal capital of Israel” urging the Palestinians to start an “uprising.”

“Hamas considers that such a decision represents a blatant attack by the United States of America on the city, and grants Israel the legitimacy to Jerusalem,” declared the statement released on Saturday.

Reports emerged on Friday from Trump senior administration officials that the President is expected to declare Jerusalem as the capital of Israel in a speech on Wednesday, amid mounting speculation among Palestinian and Israeli factions.

“This step constitutes a flagrant violation of international law as Jerusalem is an occupied territory,” Hamas stated, urging the Palestinian people to, “stand up in the face of this brutal decision” and encouraging them commence an uprising, which translates into Arabic as an ‘intifada’, as a way of preventing the passing of this “conspiracy.”

The last Palestinian intifada, or uprising, which claimed the lives of some 3,000 Palestinians and 1,000 Israelis, was sparked by right-wing opposition leader Ariel Sharon's visit to the city's flashpoint Al-Aqsa mosque compound in 2000.

Calling upon Arab and Islamic countries to oppose the Tel Aviv to Jerusalem embassy move, Hamas urged all “official and popular levels to stand by their responsibilities and to work to stop the decision.”

The Arab League's Secretary-General Ahmed Aboul Gheit also warned Saturday that the US's recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital would ignite violence. 

The status of Jerusalem is a controversial flashpoint issue in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The Palestinians claim East Jerusalem as the capital of their future state, while Israel has declared the entire city as its capital. The Palestinians fiercely oppose any changes that could be regarded as legitimizing Israel's occupation and annexation of its eastern sector.

“Today we say very clearly that taking such action is not justified ... It will not serve peace or stability, but will fuel extremism and resort to violence,” Aboul Gheit said in a statement on the Arab league’s website.

“It only benefits one side; the Israeli government that is hostile to peace,” he added.

GALI TIBBON (AFP/File)

Echoing the sentiments of other Arab groups,  Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’s adviser for religious affairs, Judge Mahmoud al-Habash said in a speech on Saturday that any change in the political reality of Jerusalem means there will be no settlement or a peace process. He added that if authorized, “the Palestinian people, the Arab and Islamic world will be absolved of everything.”

“The whole world will pay the price of any folly aimed at Al-Quds Al Sharif,” he warned, reiterating the importance of “the cause of Jerusalem” for the Palestinian people.

Whilst Israel's former Prime Minister Ehud Barak declared on Thursday that the move would, "be a great thing. Jerusalem is our capital, I would like to see all the embassies of all countries, not just the United States, deployed there."

During the 2016 presidential campaign, Trump vowed several times to move the US embassy, which like other international missions is currently located in Tel Aviv because of Jerusalem's disputed status. The promise was a break from typical US policy.

In 1995, Congress made it US policy to move the embassy to Jerusalem, symbolically endorsing Israel's claim on the city as its capital, but the law contained a clause that has allowed each president since to issue and renew a six-month waiver on carrying out the move.

Despite his campaign promises, Trump signed the presidential waiver to delay the move after on the June 1 deadline, stating that it was in order to "maximize the chances of successfully negotiating a deal between Israel and the Palestinians."

Trump is due to decide again this Monday, on December 4, after the initial deadline was extended since December 1 fell on a Friday this year, an official told the Times of Israel.

Read more:

US recognition of Jerusalem as capital ‘destroys the peace process’

Trump expected to recognize Jerusalem as Israeli capital in speech

Ex-Israeli PM says Trump moving embassy to Jerusalem would be a 'great thing'

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