BEIRUT: Palestinian and Lebanese groups staged demonstrations after Friday prayers throughout Lebanon and inside Palestinian refugee camps. They denounced US President Donald Trump’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.
Friday sermons stressed “Jerusalem is the capital of Palestine.”
A massive rally was staged in Beirut's Tareek El-Jadida, an area where Palestinian refugee camps are mixed with Sunni-majority neighborhoods. People carried signs that read “Jerusalem unites us,” and “We will sacrifice our lives for Jerusalem.”
The Future Movement organized a rally near the tomb of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri at which party MPs raised both Lebanese and Palestinian flags.
Sheikh Abdul Latif Deryan, the grand mufti of Lebanon, said from a mosque in Beirut: “Jerusalem was, and will forever be, Arab, against the wish of all tyrants. This decision will have repercussions and will not go unnoticed.”
Rallies where Israeli flags were burned took place in Saida and also in Ein El-Hilweh refugee camp on the city’s outskirts.
University students rallied in Tripoli as well.
Supporters of Lebanese parties loyal to Hezbollah and Syria will rally around the US Embassy on Sunday, and Hezbollah’s supporters will also rally next Monday in Beirut's southern suburb.
The US Embassy in Lebanon issued warnings to its nationals in the country to “avoid demonstrations,” knowing that several groups had announced staging public rallies following the US decision to designate occupied Jerusalem as Israel's capital. The warning noted that the rallies “may become violent.”
In an official statement, the US Embassy called on its nationals to “review personal safety precautions, stay aware of their surroundings and local events, follow local news for updates, maintain a high level of caution, follow the right steps to ensure their personal security, follow the local authorities’ instructions, avoid areas where riots are staged, and be careful if they happened to be in an area where a riot or a massive rally is taking place.”
Lebanon participated in the delegate-level extraordinary meeting of the Arab League in Cairo on Friday and was represented by Foreign Minister Gebran Bassil.