JERUSALEM – Palestinian protesters and Israeli security forces clashed Friday in Jerusalem and the West Bank amid heightened tensions in the region and elsewhere over United States (US) President Donald Trump’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.
A 30-year-old Palestinian was shot and killed during clashes in eastern Gaza, Palestinian Authority’s Ministry of Health said, with more than 300 people injured across the West Bank, Gaza and Jerusalem, 50 of whom needed hospital treatment.
Most of the injuries were minor, the ministry said, adding that they were caused by bullets, rubber bullets, tear gas and asphyxiation. Protesters in the West Bank and Gaza began to disperse in the early evening, the Israeli military said.
In Gaza, Israeli aircraft hammered Hamas targets.
An Israeli army statement said what it called violent riots had broken out in about 30 locations across the West Bank and Gaza. The main disturbances in the West Bank were in Hebron, Al-Arroub, Tulkarm, Ramallah, Qalqilya and Nablus.
About 3,000 protesters have been involved in the West Bank unrest, with 28 people arrested and about 65 injured, it said.
In Gaza, about 4,500 Palestinians have been demonstrating at six locations along the border with Israel, the army said, with protesters rolling burning tires and throwing rocks at IDF soldiers.
“IDF soldiers are responding with riot dispersal means,” the military said.
“During the riots IDF soldiers fired selectively towards dozens of main instigators and hits were confirmed.”
In the West Bank town of Bethlehem, a CNN team saw Israeli soldiers fire rubber bullets and tear gas while Palestinian protesters threw rocks, marbles and Molotov cocktails.
Tires burned, sending up thick black smoke, in a town which would normally be busy with tourists in the run-up to Christmas.
Brief scuffles broke out by the Damascus Gate entrance to Jerusalem’s Old City, where protesters chanted slogans and held Palestinian flags aloft.
Extra police units have been mobilized in Jerusalem and the Old City, Israeli police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld tweeted. No incident occurred inside the al-Aqsa mosque compound during Friday prayers, but security measures continue around the city, he said.
Israeli Defense Forces said air force aircraft struck a Hamas training compound and ammunition warehouse in Gaza in response to projectiles fired earlier. The Palestinian Islamist group controls Gaza.
The IDF said two projectiles were fired from Gaza at southern Israel. One was intercepted by the Iron Dome aerial defense system and no injuries were reported, the IDF said. Troops were searching for the other.
“The IDF holds Hamas solely responsible for all hostile acts against Israel emanating from the Gaza Strip,” the IDF said.
Violent protests and international condemnation had already followed Trump’s move Wednesday, when he also committed to moving the US Embassy to the holy city.
Both Palestinians and Israelis claim Jerusalem as their capital.
Some Palestinian factions called for three “days of rage” to protest the decision, culminating Friday. At least 49 people were injured Thursday during protests over Trump’s decision, the Palestinian Red Crescent said.
Thirteen Palestinians were arrested overnight into Friday morning in Jerusalem, according to the Palestinian Prisoners’ Club, a nongovernmental organization that provides legal aid to Palestinians arrested by Israeli authorities.
Trump’s move has roiled Muslims around the world and loomed large during prayers on Friday, Islam’s holy day.
The governments of Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Pakistan, Malaysia and Indonesia were among those to speak out against Trump’s decision. A number of Western allies have also been critical.
Big crowds marched through the streets of Amman, Jordan, in a show of opposition to Trump’s move. Jordan is a key US ally in the region.
A protest march also set off from Istanbul’s Fatih mosque after Friday prayers. Demonstrators waved Palestinian and Turkish flags, as well as banners proclaiming solidarity with the Palestinians.
Dogukan Sevinc, a municipal worker attending the rally, told CNN the protesters were not against anyone but were “defending Muslim rights” in the wake of the US decision. “They don’t respect anyone — they care just about Jews and Christians. The world is not just Jews and Christians,” he said.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan will receive Russian President Vladimir Putin in Ankara on Monday to discuss “the recent developments in Jerusalem and the situation in Syria,” Erdogan’s office said.
Police in the Malaysian capital, Kuala Lumpur, said an estimated 5,000 protesters gathered outside the US Embassy after prayers. They dispersed peacefully by 3 p.m. local time.
The Indonesian capital of Jakarta also saw protesters gather near the US Embassy. Demonstrators held a banner that said “Trump is enemy of humanity. “
Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) said in a statement the country’s citizens should take part in protests, according to official news agency IRNA. “It is vital that that the Muslim world and all other freedom-seeking nations across the globe thwart this evil plot,” the statement said.
At an emergency meeting, US Ambassador Nikki Haley told the UN Security Council that the United States is still committed to a two-state solution.
“The United States is not predetermining final status issues. We remain committed to achieving a lasting peace agreement. We support a two-state solution if agreed to by the parties,” Haley said.
Tillerson: Embassy move not imminent
Speaking in Paris, US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said that moving the US Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem “is not something that will happen this year, probably not next year.”
Tillerson said that Trump had ordered the State Department to “start the process of making the move,” but that it would take time. It still needed to acquire a site, make construction plans, ensure necessary authorizations, and then start building the embassy itself.
He also said that Trump’s decision did not “indicate any final status for Jerusalem,” adding that the “final status would be left to the parties to negotiate and decide.”