Hamas Chief Calls to 'Ignite New Intifada' After U.S. Recognizes Jerusalem as Israel's Capital

The call follows Trump's recognition on Wednesday of Jerusalem as Israel's capital

Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh speaking in Gaza, Dec. 7, 2017.
Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh speaking in Gaza, Dec. 7, 2017. Mohammed Salem/Reuters

The Palestinian Islamist group Hamas called on Thursday for a new uprising against Israel after U.S. President Donald Trump's recognition of Jerusalem as the Israeli capital. 

To really understand the Middle East - subscribe to Haaretz

"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. 

Haniyeh said that the Palestinian issue was at a critical crossroads for the Arab and Islamic nation, and called Trump's announcement the end of one political period and the beginning of a new chapter in Palestinian policy.

Haniyeh called for the uprising to begin on Friday "as an expression of the rage" over the U.S. decision on Jerusalem.

"We must take decisions and build a new strategy to deal with the new plot against Palestine," Haniyeh said. "The Palestinian Authority must be courageous enough to rid itself of the Oslo accords and the arbitrary conditions for the Palestinians in these agreements," he said, referring to the accords resulting from negotiations in the 1990s between Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization that established the Palestinian Authority. "And in the face if these challenges, I repeat our position that there be no recognition of the legitimization of the occupation of the land of Palestine."

"The only way to deal with the Zionist policy, which has backing from the United States, is sparking a new intifada against the occupation and welcome resistance to this occupation," he said, using the Arabic term for uprising.

In reference to Jerusalem, Haniyeh called Trump's televised remarks on Wednesday "a declaration of war" against "the diamond in the Palestinian crown" and said those who believe that the Palestinian people will reconcile itself to Trump's newly declared policy are deluding themselves.

An order has been issued to all Hamas members to be on the alert for any eventuality as a result of "the sensitive situation," Haniyeh noted.

For his part, Daoud Shihab, a spokesman for Islamic Jihad, called on Saudi Arabia and the Arab League to shelve their 2002 Arab peace initiative. He urged Arab countries with diplomatic relations with Israel to recall their ambassadors and to expel Israeli diplomats from their countries. He also called on the Palestine Liberation Organization to rescind its recognition of Israel and the Oslo Accords and for "increased resistance throughout Palestine including the West Bank."

Following a situation assessment, the Israeli army has decided to reinforce its presence in the West Bank with several additional battalions as well as other steps there. Forces were also placed on alert for possible additional developments.