The leader of the terrorist group Hamas called for a new "intifada" or uprising against Israel Thursday after President Trump announced the recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital and said the United States would begin the lengthy process of moving the Embassy to the city.
The encouragement to revolt came as clashes between hundreds of Palestinian protesters and Israeli troops erupted across the West Bank Thursday. Demonstrators in Gaza burned posters of Trump and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, as well as U.S. and Israeli flags, as part of "three days of rage" that began Wednesday.
Trump’s controversial decision upended decades of U.S. policy on Jerusalem and countered long-standing international assurances to the Palestinians that the fate of the ancient city, claimed by Israelis and Palestinians, would be determined in negotiations.
In a news conference in the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip, the group's chief, Ismail Haniya, said that Washington's decision to reverse its policy amounted to a "war declaration against Palestinians" that "killed" the peace process.
"We have given instruction to all Hamas members and to all its wings to be fully ready for any new instructions or orders that may be given to confront this strategic danger that threatens Jerusalem and threatens Palestine," he said.
Haniya said the uprising should start Friday. "We want the uprising to last and continue to let Trump and the occupation regret this decision," he said.
At least 17 Palestinians, one seriously, were injured in Thursday's clashes, but Friday, the Muslim holy day, could be a bigger test when Palestinians gather for mass prayers.
Meanwhile, the chorus of international condemnation grew Thursday.
Palestinians protest Trump recognition of Jerusalem as Israeli capital
U.S. allies France and the United Kingdom said they disapproved of Trump's decision. Saudi Arabia, a key American ally in the Middle East, called it "irresponsible." Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan warned it would throw "the region into a ring of fire." Federica Mogherini, the European Union's top foreign policy diplomat, said "the announcement has the potential to send us backwards to even darker times than the one we are already living in."
Mogherini called for calm and appealed for "the status quo of the holy places" in Jerusalem to be preserved. The United Nations Security Council is expected to meet for talks and a briefing Friday over the policy change.
Hamas' new "intifada" marks the third time such a request has been invoked.
Israel, the U.S. and the European Union consider Hamas either wholly or in part to be a terrorist organization. The group killed hundreds of Israelis during the Second Intifada, an armed uprising against Israel's occupation of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip in the early 2000s. Previous Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat led the First Intifada from 1987 to 1993. Hamas is currently locked in a feud with Fatah, the Palestinian nationalist movement led by Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.
More: What is an intifada?
Abbas was expected to travel to Jordan Thursday to meet with King Abdullah II. The monarch, who enjoys good relations with the U.S., is seen as Abbas’ closest Arab ally, and the two leaders might try to coordinate a response to Trump’s policy change.
On Wednesday, Abbas said Washington's move was a "reward to Israel" that encourages Israel's "continued occupation" of Palestinian areas.
It remains unclear how destructive a new intifada from Hamas might be. The group's ability to carry out attacks is now more limited after Israel imposed a blockade on the Gaza Strip. Many supporters of Hamas in the West Bank also have been arrested.
Netanyahu said Thursday that Trump had "bound himself forever" to the history of Jerusalem by recognizing the city as Israel’s capital. He also claimed that other nations would follow suit and make a similar recognition.
Meanwhile, Israel's military said it would deploy additional troops to the West Bank ahead of Friday, when more mass Palestinian protests are anticipated.