As it happenedended1512775097

Jerusalem protests: Israel launches air strike on Gaza amid violent clashes, 'injuring at least 14 people' - as it happened

Follow the latest live as hundreds of extra Israeli police respond to Hamas’ call for Palestinian day of rage

Friday 08 December 2017 11:35 GMT
Israeli forces stand guard in Jerusalem's Old City on 8 December 2017
Israeli forces stand guard in Jerusalem's Old City on 8 December 2017

All eyes were on Jerusalem’s Old City for anticipated protests on Friday in the wake of Donald Trump’s decision to recognise the city as the capital of Israel.

Israelis and Palestinians alike braced themselves for a day of rage called for by various Palestinian political groups to protest the US’ move.

On Friday morning the city’s streets were quiet but hundreds of extra police patrolled the city centre in anticipation of protests after midday prayers.

And as people poured out of mosques in the West Bank for peaceful planned marches, hundreds of Palestinians clashed with Israeli security forces in the West Bank cities of Hebron, Bethlehem and Ramallah.

Strikes and demonstrations are expected across Jerusalem and the Palestinian Territories, as well as solidarity protests throughout the region and wider Muslim world, including Malaysia, Indonesia and Pakistan.

More than 50 people were injured in low-level clashes across the West Bank on Thursday. Friday, the Muslim holy day, is usually a bellwether for further violence in the intractable conflict.

The Israeli authorities often impose age limits on access to Jerusalem's al Aqsa mosque barring younger men during periods of increased tensions, but the compound remained open to all on Friday.

Sarah Huckabee Sanders: Jerusalem decision not a sign that US is pulling out of peace process

Officers would respond to any disruptions, Israeli police said.

The contested city of Jerusalem is claimed by both sides as their capital and control of it is one of the major stumbling blocks to a lasting peace deal in the Arab-Israeli conflict.

Mr Trump broke away with decades of existing US policy and the terms set out in the 1993 Oslo peace accords in his Wednesday announcement that the US would recognise the holy city as Israel’s capital and relocate its embassy there from Tel Aviv.

Though the US administration insisted that the move acknowledges “current reality”, the symbolism has been taken to mean that the US has sided with Israel in the intractable conflict.

The US has been seeking to resurrect talks between Israel and the Palestinians since Mr Trump took office. The president has previously described brokering an end to the Arab-Israeli conflict “the ultimate deal”.

While welcomed by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas and many other world leaders have expressed concern the controversial move could spark renewed violence in the Middle East and serve as a call to arms for Islamic extremist movements such as Isis and al Qaeda.

Several US allies - including the UK, France and Saudi Arabia - have publicly disagreed with the move.

On Thursday, Hamas’ leader Ismail Haniyeh called on the Palestinian people to rise up in a new intifada.

“We should call for and we should work on launching an intifada in the face of the Zionist enemy,” he said in a speech from Gaza.

“This will not stop until the liberation of Jerusalem and the West Bank,” he added.

Donald Trump officially recognises Jerusalem as Israel's capital

Hamas made no mention of utilising its own arsenal to attack Israel, but fears of violence in the volatile region continue to grow.

Observers remain hopeful the relatively low levels of violence seen during protests on Thursday mean Friday will also pass without major incident.


Welcome to The Independent's live blog as clashes are breaking out in the Middle East over Donald Trump's decision to recognise Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.

Adam Withnall8 December 2017 11:31

Hundreds of Palestinian protesters are clashing with Israeli security forces in the West Bank cities of Hebron, Bethlehem and Ramallah after Friday midday prayers as part of a day of rage over the Trump administration's decision to recognise Jerusalem as Israel's capital. 

Protesters threw stones at Israeli troops who responded with tear gas and rubber bullets. 

In Gaza, thousands took to the streets and marched Friday to denounce President Donald Trump's proclamation. 

Thousands of Palestinian worshippers also are rallying outside Jerusalem's Al Aqsa Mosque, a flashpoint site in the holy city. 

Adam Withnall8 December 2017 11:43

Large protests are also taking place in Muslim majority countries around the world, including Turkey, Egypt, Pakistan, Iran and Indonesia.

In Islamabad and Tehran, protesters torched effigies of President Trump and chanted "Down with America" and "Down with Israel."

Adam Withnall8 December 2017 12:06

The Palestinian Red Cross says more than 90 people have been injured in clashes with Israeli forces across the West Bank on Friday.

At least 50 were injured in protests that turned violent on Thursday, with one person left in a critical condition. Most people suffered from tear gas inhalation.

Adam Withnall8 December 2017 12:14

Protesters in Jerusalem are chanting "America is the head of the snake".

Adam Withnall8 December 2017 12:23

12 Palestinians have been hurt by rubber-coated steel pellets and one by live fire in West Bank protests in Ramallah, Hebron and Bethlehem, a Palestinian Red Crescent spokesperson has said. 

Adam Withnall8 December 2017 12:31

Solidarity rallies elsewhere in the world appear to have a larger turn out than the Jerusalem protest. Major demonstrations are taking place in:

  • Turkey
  • Jordan
  • Egypt
  • Lebanon
  • Somalia
  • Several cities in Pakistan
  • Kashmir
  • Indonesia
  • Iran 
Adam Withnall8 December 2017 12:41

Small clashes continue outside Ramallah.

Adam Withnall8 December 2017 12:56

Israeli cabinet minister Zeev Elkin has said he believes the phrasing of Mr Trump's recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital suggests an “openness to eventual Palestinian control of part of the city”.

He also predicted the Israeli authorities would oppose such an idea.  

According to the 1993 Oslo Peace Accords, the status of Jerusalem is supposed to be settled at an advanced stage of peace talks.

Adam Withnall8 December 2017 13:01

US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has said the US embassy to Israel - currently in Tel Aviv - will not move premises to Jerusalem within the next two years.

Adam Withnall8 December 2017 13:21

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