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Scores of Palestinians hurt as Jerusalem protests rage

Dozens of Palestinians have been hurt in protests against a US decision to recognise Jerusalem as Israel's capital.

Palestinian protesters run from tear gas

Thousands of Palestinians have taken to the streets of Jerusalem, the West Bank and the Gaza Strip to protest against the US decision to recognise Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, a contentious move that has inflamed tensions in Palestine and across the region.

In the occupied West Bank, Palestinians clashed with Israeli forces in a handful of cities throughout Thursday.

At least 49 Palestinians were injured in the protests, and 16 were sent to hospital, according to local health authorities in the West Bank.

Palestinian protesters gathered at the central Al Manara square in Ramallah and marched towards El Bireh, where they were met by Israeli troops firing tear gas and rubber bullets.

Protests were also held in Hebron, Nablus, Jenin, Tulkarem and Jericho in the West Bank, according to Anadolu news agency, as well as in East Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip.

At least four Palestinians were injured in Gaza after Israeli soldiers fired live ammunition at dozens of demonstrators who assembled east of Khan Younes, in the southern part of the coastal territory, according to Palestinian news agency, Wafa. 

Trump's 'escalation'

Trump, ignoring warnings from the international community, announced on Wednesday that the US formally recognises Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and will begin the process of moving its embassy to the city, breaking with decades of US policy.

The decision has been condemned by world leaders who have described it as a "dangerous escalation" and a final nail in the coffin of peace negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians.

Palestinians want East Jerusalem as the capital of their future state, while Israel says the city, which is under Israeli occupation, cannot be divided.

Trump's "announcement has the potential to send us backwards to even darker times than the ones we are already living in", said Federica Mogherini, high representative of the European Union for foreign affairs.

In a speech in Gaza City on Thursday, Hamas leader Ismail Haniya has said the US decision is a "war declaration against Palestinians", and called for a new Intifada, or uprising.

Haniya said 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 aggression, 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.

Days of Rage

Palestinians had called for three days of rage in response to Trump's announcement on Wednesday, and for the closure of local schools and stores.

Israeli police, meanwhile, attempted to break up the protest and confiscated Palestinian flags, he reported.

Ignoring warnings

On Thursday, Mustafa Barghouti, the secretary-general of the Palestinian National Initiative, said from Ramallah 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."


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