Palestinians closed schools and shops and called for protests across the West Bank on Thursday, in a show of anger over US President Donald Trump's recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital.
In the West Bank city of Bethlehem, shops by Manger Square - traditionally bustling before Christmas - were shut and the streets unusually quiet. Trump's announcement on Wednesday (Dec.
6) reversed decades of US peace-making policy on Jerusalem, which both Israelis and Palestinians claim, and drew condemnation from many countries, including key Washington allies.
Israel claims all of Jerusalem as its capital, including the eastern part, which it has occupied since 1967, and which the Palestinians want as the capital of their own independent state.
In recognising Jerusalem as Israel's capital, Trump was seen as siding with Israel's government, which says it will not give up any part of the city.
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has suggested the US disqualified itself as a broker in the peace process, a role it played for more than two decades of stop-and-go negotiations on setting up a Palestinian state alongside Israel.
There’s now growing fear of an outburst of violence during Friday prayers at Jerusalem’s Al-Aqsa Mosque compound.
Hamas calls for ‘day of rage’ The powerful Palestinian Islamist group Hamas has called on Muslims and Arabs to hold rallies on Friday, calling it a "day of rage”.
"We should call for and we should work on launching an intifada in the face of the Zionist enemy," Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh said in a speech in Gaza.
"Let December 8 be the first day of the intifada against the occupier," he said.
Israel and the United States consider Hamas, which has fought three wars with Israel since 2007, a terrorist organisation.
Hamas does not recognise Israel's right to exist and its suicide bombings helped spearhead the last intifada, from 2000 to 2005.
Haniyeh also called on Western-backed Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to withdraw from peacemaking with Israel, and on Arabs to boycott the Trump administration.
"It should be announced that the so-called peace agreement was buried, once and for all, and that there is nothing called a partner for the Palestinians in peace," Haniyeh said..