International desk, December 07: At least 31 Palestinians have been wounded in clashes in the Gaza Strip and across the occupied West Bank, during protests against US President Donald Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.Meanwhile, traditional US allies are among a growing chorus condemning President Trump’s decision to recognise Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.
Saudi Arabia called it “unjustified and irresponsible”, while France and the UK said they did not support the decision.
But Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu hailed it as “historic” and said he was sure more countries would follow suit.
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has called for support from the UN Security Council and the Arab League, both of which will hold emergency sessions in the coming days.
Hundreds of Israeli troops have been deployed to the West Bank amid a day of protests and strikes by Palestinians. The Islamist group Hamas has called for a new intifada, or uprising.
Mr Trump’s announcement – met with worldwide dismay – reversed decades of US policy on the sensitive issue.
Protesters set tyres alight and threw stones, and Israeli troops fired tear gas, rubber bullets and live bullets. One person is in a critical condition.
Two rockets were fired from the Gaza Strip towards Israel but fell short, Israel’s army said.
In Gaza, according to Reuters news agency, Palestinians threw stones across the border fence at Israeli soldiers who responded with live fire.
There are fears the announcement could lead to a renewed outbreak of violence. The Palestinian Islamist group Hamas has already called for a new intifada, or uprising.
Despite warnings of regional unrest over any such move, the decision fulfils a campaign promise and appeals to Mr Trump’s right-wing base.
Recognising Jerusalem as Israel’s capital was “nothing more or less than a recognition of reality”, he added. “It is also the right thing to do.”
The US president said on Wednesday that he had “determined it is time to officially recognise Jerusalem as the capital of Israel”.
“I’ve judged this course of action to be in the best interests of the United States of America and the pursuit of peace between Israel and the Palestinians,” he said.
He said he was directing the US state department to begin preparations to move the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.
Mr Trump said the US would support a two-state solution – shorthand for a final settlement that would see the creation of an independent Palestinian state within pre-1967 ceasefire lines in the West Bank, Gaza Strip and East Jerusalem, living peacefully alongside Israel – “if agreed to by both sides”.
The president also refrained from using Israel’s description of Jerusalem as its “eternal and undivided capital”. The Palestinians want East Jerusalem to be the capital of any future Palestinian state.
“We have given instructions 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,” Ismail Haniya said in a speech in Gaza.