GAZA CITY: Tens of thousands of Palestinians demonstrated in the Gaza Strip after the end of Friday prayers, while clashes broke out between hundreds of youths and Israeli forces along the border between Gaza and Israel. At least two Palestinians were killed and dozens injured.
The Qassam Brigades, the military wing of Hamas, staged military parades in which masked men wearing military uniforms carried rifles and ammunition. The participants chanted slogans condemning America’s recent recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, and calling for a revolt to “liberate Jerusalem from occupation.”
Fathi Hammad, a member of the Hamas political bureau, told demonstrators in the northern Gaza Strip: “Today we declare an uprising against the occupation, and there are no half solutions.
“We call upon all the free people of the world to boycott America and Israel, and we call on the Arab and Islamic countries to take a serious stand and support our people.”
He added that a US Embassy in Jerusalem would be “an occupation entity like any other.”
He also called for the return of the Palestinian diaspora: “Isn’t it time for anyone who (has believed) in this alleged peace for more than a quarter of a century to return to embrace his people and to join us in the trench of resistance?”
In East Khan Younis in the south of the Gaza Strip, clashes broke out along the border with Israel. As Palestinian youths burned tires, Israeli forces reportedly responded with tear gas and live rounds. At least two Palestinians were killed and dozens were injured, some critically.
Senior Hamas official Ismail Radwan said during another march in Gaza City: “The Palestinian Authority must take urgent decisions, by declaring the failure of Oslo Accords and the end of that period, ending security coordination (with Israel) and permitting resistance in the West Bank.
“Hamas leaders declare the intifada for the freedom of the West Bank and Jerusalem, in response to President Trump’s decision,” he said. “Jerusalem will remain the capital of the state of Palestine.”
“Trump’s decision ended any mediation role the United States could play in the political process, destroyed the peace process, and destroyed any talk about a deal to bring peace to the region,” Osama Al-Qawasmi, a Fatah spokesman, said in a statement.
Friday sermons in the Gaza Strip addressed the issue of Jerusalem and the American decision to transfer its embassy there, and urged the rejection of any attempt to harm “the sanctity of the city.”
One of the protesters, Ahmed Al-Aksh, blamed “the weakness of the Palestinian people because of the division between Fatah and Hamas” for the US decision, “as well as the preoccupation of Arab countries with internal issues.”
Now, Al-Aksh said: “We must go out to the streets and face that decision.”