Palestinians across the West Bank and the Gaza Strip carried out a mass strike, taking to the streets in protest on Thursday over the United States’ recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.
The reaction comes as the leader of the Hamas militant group called on Palestinians to hold an “uprising”.
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas condemned Washington’s decision, saying the Palestinian leadership refuses to acknowledge U.S. President Donald Trump’s contentious move.
Israel has deployed hundreds of reinforcements to the occupied West Bank and troops are tightening security in several major Israeli cities.
Initial reports say that there have been eight Palestinians injured in the skirmishes and Israeli security forces have utilized tear gas and rubber bullets to hold mass protest crowds at bay.
Palestinians have continued to burn images of Trump and Israeli officials.
Jerusalem’s many holy sites are significant to the major religions of Judaism, Islam and Christianity with the city being claimed by both the Jew-majority Israel and the Islam-majority Palestinian territories.
However, Israeli sovereignty over the city has never been recognized internationally until the United States and Czech Republic on Wednesday changed the status quo, with Israel saying they are in talks with other countries that may want to follow their lead.
Trump declared on Dec. 6 that his country recognized Jerusalem as the Israeli capital and that a new U.S. Embassy would be built there, instead of the standard of Tel Aviv, where all other global envoy delegations are located.
The Trump announcement was criticized leading up to Wednesday and was nearly globally condemned after he gave the speech from the White House, with Vice President Mike Pence in the background.
Both the United Nations Security Council and the Arab League are meeting with their respective members to decide a response.
However, other international organizations such as the European Union have already had their say.
The E.U. Commission expressed “serious concern” over the change of U.S. policy and a key Israeli ally, the Netherlands, sharply criticized Trump’s actions as “unwise and counterproductive”.
In Palestinian territories, there is a Palestinian Authority led by current President Mahmoud Abbas.
However, two rivals until recently have fought for control of Palestinian territories: the Hamas and Fatah. The former has ruled the Gaza Strip with the Fatah taking control of the West Bank.
The Sunni Islamic Hamas militant organization was labelled a terror group in July of this year by the European Court of Justice, but has long been given that status by many in the international community.
Hamas Leader Ismail Haniya made clear that the Trump recognition on Dec. 6 was a “war declaration against Palestinians”, and called for a new “Intifada”, translated as an uprising.
“This decision has killed the peace process, has killed the Oslo [accord], has killed the settlement process,” Haniya pronounced.
“The U.S. decision is an aggression, a declaration of war on us, on the best Muslim and Christian shrines in the heart of Palestine, Jerusalem.”
Palestine has always considered the entirety of Jerusalem as the capital of a future state, something Haniya reiterated in a speech on Thursday.
Fatah, a rival of President Abbas, has decided to take a more diplomatic direction by protesting through diplomatic means by submitting a complaint to the U.N. Security Council and by lobbying the Arab League for a strong response.
“We are going to declare the United States disqualified as co-sponsor of any peace process or political process, said Fatah spokesman Dr. Nassar Al-Kidwa.
Besides the Czech Republic, European leaders have joined many African and Asian leaders in condemning Trump’s recognition.
French President Emmanuel Macron went as far as saying the move contravened international law and Security Council resolutions.