Posts Tagged ‘Ismail Haniya’

UN, Palestinians launch humanitarian appeal after funding cuts

December 17, 2018

The United Nations and the Palestinian Authority on Monday appealed for $350 million in humanitarian relief for Palestinians next year, saying that they needed more but had to be realistic in the face of “record-low” funding.

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The 2019 Humanitarian Response Plan outlined 203 projects to be carried out by 88 different groups, including UN agencies and non-governmental organizations.

Palestinians take part in a protest against the US move to freeze funding for the UN agency for Palestinian refugees (UNRWA) at the Rafah refugee camp in the southern Gaza Strip on February 6, 2018. (File/AFP)

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The plan prioritized 1.4 million Palestinians most in need of food, health care, shelter, water and sanitation, said Jamie McGoldrick, the UN humanitarian coordinator in the Gaza Strip, West Bank and East Jerusalem.

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“Humanitarian actors are facing unprecedented challenges, including record-low funding and a rise in attacks to delegitimize humanitarian action,” he said in a joint statement issued on Monday, ahead of the appeal’s launch in Ramallah in the Israeli-occupied West Bank.

Gaza Hamas leader Ismail Haniya waves upon his arrival at a rally in Gaza City on December 16, 2018 to mark the 31st anniversary of the founding of the Islamist Palestinian movement

Gaza Hamas leader Ismail Haniya waves upon his arrival at a rally in Gaza City on December 16, 2018 to mark the 31st anniversary of the founding of the Islamist Palestinian movement.  AFP

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Although “much more assistance is needed,” McGoldrick said, the plan was “reflecting what we can realistically accomplish in this highly constrained context.”

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Over the past year, the United States has slashed its funding to the Palestinians, including to the UN agency that provides services to 5 million Palestinian refugees.

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The United States promised $365 million to the agency in 2018, but paid only a first instalment of $60 million before announcing in August that it would halt all future donations.

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The move was widely seen as a means of pressuring the Palestinian leadership to enter peace negotiations with Israel.

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The Palestinians want to establish a state in the West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem — territories that Israel captured and occupied in the 1967 Middle East war.

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US-brokered peace talks between the sides collapsed in 2014 and a bid by US President Donald Trump to restart them has so far showed little progress.

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Around 77 percent of the funds sought in the 2019 plan would go to Gaza, the appeal organizers said, because the densely populated coastal strip faced a “dire humanitarian situation” after years of an Israeli-led blockade, internal Palestinian political divisions and casualties from demonstrations and recurring hostilities.

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“The humanitarian context in the oPt (Occupied Palestinian Territories) is still deteriorating due to the Israeli occupation violations in a time of lack of resources and declining funds because of the politicization of the humanitarian aid,” Palestinian Social Development Minister Ibrahim Al-Shaer said in the statement.

Reuters

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Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif speaks during a session of the Doha Forum in the Qatari capital on December 15, 2018. (AFP)

Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif speaks during a session of the Doha Forum in the Qatari capital on December 15, 2018. (AFP)
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U.S. envoy Kushner calls UNRWA corrupt, inefficient, unhelpful for peace

A Palestinian woman takes part in a protest against possible reductions of the services and aid offered by United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), in front of UNRWA headquarters in Gaza City August 16, 2015. (photo credit: REUTERS/MOHAMMED SALEM)

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Hamas chief praises West Bank ‘resistance’ after deadly attacks on Israelis

December 16, 2018

Hamas leader Ismail Haniya praised “resistance” in the occupied West Bank in a speech to tens of thousands on Sunday after recent deadly attacks against Israelis.

Haniya made the comments at a rally in Gaza City for the 31st anniversary of the Palestinian Islamist movement’s founding.

“We place our hopes in the West Bank, which is the main area where events are occurring and the most appropriate area to resolve the conflict with our Zionist enemy,” he told the crowd, which waived green Hamas flags.

Gaza Hamas leader Ismail Haniya waves upon his arrival at a rally in Gaza City on December 16, 2018 to mark the 31st anniversary of the founding of the Islamist Palestinian movement

Gaza Hamas leader Ismail Haniya waves upon his arrival at a rally in Gaza City on December 16, 2018 to mark the 31st anniversary of the founding of the Islamist Palestinian movement.  AFP

“The West Bank has shaken and stood up with glory, strength and skill, as if it wanted to say to our people on the occasion of this glorious anniversary that it was with the resistance, in total harmony.”

Members of Hamas’s armed wing, the Ezzedine al-Qassam Brigades, participated in the rally in camouflage and carrying rifles, while presenting a range of weapons.

Hamas runs the Gaza Strip but also has a presence in the West Bank, where its rivals from Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas’s Fatah are based.

Palestinian militants in Gaza, including Hamas, have fought three wars with Israel since 2008.

The group has claimed two recent deadly shootings in the West Bank, which has seen an upsurge in violence over the past week.

They included a December 9 attack near a settlement that led to the death of a baby prematurely delivered after his mother was shot and wounded. A total of seven people were wounded in the attack.

An October 7 shooting in the West Bank that killed two Israelis was also claimed by Hamas.

In another attack on Thursday, two soldiers were shot dead at a central West Bank bus station near a settlement.

The two Palestinians behind the attacks claimed by Hamas were shot dead by Israeli forces during arrest raids last week, Israeli officials said.

Israel’s security forces have also carried out raids in Ramallah and say they have also arrested at least 37 Hamas operatives in connection with recent violence.

Earlier Sunday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said he had issued a warning to Hamas after the recent attacks.

He referred to a controversial Gaza ceasefire in November that ended the worst escalation between Israel and Hamas since a 2014 war.

“I conveyed a clear message to Hamas — we won’t accept a situation of a truce in Gaza and terror in Judea and Samaria,” Netanyahu said, using the biblical name for the West Bank, as is Israel’s policy.

“We will exact a high price over them,” he said of the attacks.

As part of efforts to restore calm in Gaza, Israel has allowed Qatar to bring fuel and tens of millions of dollars to the besieged territory for salaries.

AFP

Israel and Hamas are plunging into an all-out war that neither side wants

November 13, 2018

Both are under intense pressure and are determined to deter each other, but there is yet hope they can come back from the brink

Gaza's Hamas leader Ismail Haniya flashes the V for victory sign at the Israel-Gaza border, east of Gaza city, on October 12, 2018. (Said Khatib/AFP)

Gaza’s Hamas leader Ismail Haniya flashes the V for victory sign at the Israel-Gaza border, east of Gaza city, on October 12, 2018. (Said Khatib/AFP)

On Tuesday morning, Palestinian Islamic Jihad’s military wing, the al-Quds Brigades, announced that “Ashdod and Beersheba will soon enter the line of fire.” And indeed, it currently looks like there is nothing stopping Israel and the Gaza-ruling Palestinian terrorist groups from continuing the escalation toward a full-blown war.

The traditional brokers of ceasefires between both sides, Egypt and the United Nations, seem to have put aside their efforts to calm the situation, and the pessimism is evident in their statements.

But while Israel and the Hamas terror group both appear ready, even eager, for deeper battle, that is mostly a facade. The two sides are engaged in a game of brinkmanship in a bid to demonstrate their superiority and create deterrence. The problem is that it is highly doubtful that either Hamas or Israel have the ability to achieve those goals without taking steps that will inevitably plunge the area into war.

At least for now, Hamas and Israel look like two trains reluctantly speeding toward a chasm.

In attempting to understand what exactly went wrong over the past few days, it is hard to point to a clear strategic decision. Hamas and Israel had already entered a truce. The Gazan organization’s leadership had invested tremendous efforts in reaching the ceasefire, in which the Strip’s economy was to improve, the supply of electricity was to increase and even Hamas officials were to receive payments using cash suitcases transferred by Qatar with Israel’s approval.

Prime Minister Netanyahu and Defense Minister Liberman are speaking to IDF Chief of Staff Gadi Eizenkot at the IDF headquarter in Tel Aviv, November 12, 2018 (Amos Ben Gershom)

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government had similarly gone to great lengths to clarify that it wasn’t interested in escalation, even essentially agreeing to pay protection money to a terror group that openly declares that it seeks to destroy the Jewish state.

Still, Sunday night’s incident in Khan Younis, in which an Israeli special operations officer was killed along with seven Palestinian terror group members, has changed the situation and led the region to the brink of war. The elite unit’s operation deep inside Gazan territory put Hamas in a difficult position: respond and risk a war, or contain the incident and risk being portrayed as having capitulated to Israel in exchange for money.

At first, it looked like Hamas was leaning toward containing the incident, but the pressure on its leaders ultimately proved to be too strong. As far as they are concerned, an Israeli operation like Sunday night’s and the killing of seven operatives was a distinct violation of sovereignty that crossed all red lines within the framework of a truce.

Palestinian rockets are shot toward Israel from Gaza on November 12, 2018. (AP/Hatem Moussa)

That act prompted Hamas to forgo its wins — salaries, increased electricity and humanitarian steps — by adopting the clear goal of deterring Israel and preventing its next incursion into Gaza.

Of course, that isn’t the only consideration. One has to consider Hamas’s political struggle with rival terror groups such as Islamic Jihad. Those factions have voiced strong criticism of Hamas’s perceived willingness to compromise by containing the Khan Younis incident. Islamic Jihad, in particular, has outflanked Hamas and demanded a far stronger response against Israel. Hamas this time has decided to preempt that by trying to prove it is still a “resistance” organization and fighting even at a high cost.

The sliver of hope at this time is the continued common interest of both the Netanyahu government and the Hamas leadership to stop the fighting. Perhaps the common desire on both sides will eventually calm the situation and cut short the spiraling violence.

The only alternative is an all-out war that will exact an extremely heavy cost from both sides.

https://www.timesofisrael.com/gaza-is-plunging-into-an-all-out-war-that-neither-side-wants/

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An Israeli injured woman, evacuated from her apartment that was set ablaze after it was hit by a rocket fired from the Gaza Strip, is escorted at the hospital on a stretcher, in the southern Israeli town of Ashkelon on November 12, 2018.(GIL COHEN-MAGEN / AFP)
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Hamas leader: ‘On our way’ to ending Israel blockade

August 21, 2018

Hamas leader Ismail Haniya said Tuesday that an end to Israel’s more than decade-long blockade of Gaza was “around the corner”, as talk of a possible truce deal intensifies.

Indirect negotiations between Gaza’s Hamas rulers and Israel brokered by Egyptian and UN officials have reportedly included discussion on easing the blockade, but by no means a complete lifting of it.

Speaking to thousands of Palestinians during prayers for the Muslim Eid al-Adha holiday, Haniya did not directly address the possiblity of a truce, mooted in Israeli and Palestinian media for weeks.

© AFP | The leader of Gaza’s ruling Hamas movement, Ismail Haniya (Haniyeh), tells thouands of Muslim worshippers an end to Israel’s more than decade-long blockade is “around the corner”, as talk of a possible truce deal intensifes

“Thanks to these marches and resistance, we are just around the corner from closing the page on this unjust blockade,” he said, referring to months of protests along the Gaza-Israel border, some of which have drawn a deadly response from the Israeli army.

He seemed to refer to Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas’s concerns over a truce that does not include his Palestinian Authority, based in the occupied West Bank.

Abbas’s Fatah and Hamas have been deeply divided for more than a decade.

Haniya said any agreement would come “with a national consensus and an Arab safety net in order to establish the necessary safeguards to implement what is agreed upon”.

“We are on our way to ending this unjust blockade of Gaza,” he said.

Two Palestinians were shot dead during border protests on Friday, bringing to 171 the number killed by Israeli fire in the Gaza Strip since demonstrations began on March 30.

One Israeli soldier has been killed by a Palestinian sniper.

Israel accuses Hamas of being behind the protests and encouraging Gazans to attempt to breach the heavily guarded border fence.

UN envoy Nickolay Mladenov and Egyptian officials have been seeking to broker a long-term truce between Israel and Hamas, which have fought three wars since 2008.

Israeli media have speculated it could involve an easing of Israel’s crippling blockade of Gaza in exchange for calm on the border and the return of the bodies of two soldiers killed in 2014.

Israel is also seeking the return of two Israeli citizens believed held by Hamas.

The Gaza border has been notably calmer in recent days as speculation over the indirect negotiations has intensified.

AFP

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Hamas chief visits Egypt ahead of US embassy move to Jerusalem

May 13, 2018

Hamas’ political chief Ismail Haniya arrives in Cairo to discuss ‘developments’ in Palestine and the region.

A Hamas statement on Sunday said the delegation had accepted an invitation extended by neighbouring Egypt [File: Anadolu]

A Hamas statement on Sunday said the delegation had accepted an invitation extended by neighbouring Egypt [File: Anadolu]

Al Jazeera

The senior political leader of Hamas Ismail Haniya has travelled to Cairo with a high-ranking delegation to hold talks with senior Egyptian officials about “developments” in Palestine and the region.

A Hamas statement on Sunday said the delegation had accepted an invitation extended by neighbouring Egypt.

Hamas governs the Gaza Strip, a densely populated coastal enclave that shares borders with Egypt and Israel, with which it has fought three wars since 2008.

The agenda will include talks over the controversial US embassy move, scheduled to take place on Monday.

The decision announced by US President Donald Trump in December has incensed Palestinians, who view the eastern part of the city as the capital of their future state.

Thousands of Palestinians are expected to protest against the move from across the occupied Palestinian territories on Monday, including the Gaza Strip as part of the Great March of Return.

The Great March of Return includes rallies that are part of a weeks-long protest that will culminate on May 15 to mark what Palestinians refer to as the Nakba or “Catastrophe” – a reference to Israel’s establishment in 1948, when 750,000 Palestinians were forcibly removed from Palestine.

Since the protests began on March 30, Israeli forces have killed at least 49 Palestinians in the coastal enclave, and wounded more than 8,500.

For much of the last decade, Egypt has joined Israel in enforcing a crippling blockade that has deprived Gaza’s roughly two million inhabitants of most basic commodities, including food items, fuel and medicine.

Haniya is also expected to discuss the rekindling of the Hamas-Fatah reconciliation agreement that has largely been at a standstill for months, according to Hamas spokesperson Fawzi Barhoum.

Rival Palestinian faction Fatah, led by the Palestinian Authority in Ramallah that governs parts of the occupied West Bank, signed a reconciliation agreement with Hamas under Egypt’s auspices in October 2017, but the terms of the agreement signed in the Egyptian capital have not been implemented.

Ties between the two sides reached a new low in March when Fatah blamed Hamas for an explosion that targeted Palestinian Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah’s convoy during a visit to the Gaza Strip.

Haniya is expected to return to Gaza later on Sunday.

https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2018/05/hamas-ismail-haniya-visits-egypt-embassy-move-180513092303693.html

SOURCE: AL JAZEERA NEWS

Hamas leader: Jerusalem recognition ‘beginning of the end for Israel’

January 23, 2018

Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh says the US recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital is “the beginning of the end for Israel,” Channel 10 reports.

Hamas chief Ismail Haniyeh speaks to the press at the Rafah border crossing with Egypt in the southern Gaza Strip on September 19, 2017. (Abed Rahim Khatib/Flash90)

He stresses that he is not speaking out of “emotional turmoil.”

The Hamas leader says Vice President Mike Pence’s speechto the Knesset on Monday “proves that the American administration is horse-trading in the (future of the) region for the benefit of the Zionist entity.”

From: The Times of Israel

Palestinians Fire 16 Rockets in 9 Days at Israel: Rocket Fired From Gaza to Israel Hits Residential Building Inside Gaza Strip on Friday

December 16, 2017

srael says rockets severely damaged house in Gazan town of Beit Hanoun. This is the 16th rocket fired at Israel since Trump recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital

Yaniv Kubovich Dec 15, 2017 10:57 PM

Haaretz

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File photo: A remnant of a rocket that was fired from Gaza and landed in Israel's Negev region during the 2014 Gaza war.

File photo: A remnant of a rocket that was fired from Gaza and landed in Israel’s Negev region during the 2014 Gaza war. Ilan Assayag

A rocket was fired at Israel from Gaza on Friday evening, yet hit a residential building in the Gazan town of Beit Hanoun, the Israeli army’s coordinator of government activities in the territories said.

This is the 16th rocket fired at Israel from Gaza since U.S. President Donald Trump’s recognition nine days ago of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. It is the highest number of rockets launched since the end of Operation Protective Edge in August 2014.

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Rocket fired from Gaza toward Israel

According to the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT), the house was significantly damaged. In a Facebook post in Arabic COGAT said that “once again terror organizations launch rockets at Gaza residents themselves. Only a week ago a classroom at a public school in Bein Hanoun was destroyed.” The post went on to say that “the terror elements in Gaza unequivocally prove what we keep on saying: They are destroying the future of the residents of Gaza with their own hands.”

Since Trump’s speech on December 6, 12 rockets were fired from Gaza to the Negev area in Israel. At least three more rockets exploded inside Palestinian territory.

Earlier Friday, a Palestinian stabbed an Israeli Border Police officer between the settlement of Beit El and the Palestinian city of Ramallah in the West Bank. He was shot by Border Police on the scene and later died of his wounds. The officer who was stabbed sustained moderate injuries.

Three Palestinians were killed and 260 were wounded Friday in clashes with Israeli security forces in the West Bank, East Jerusalem and on the Gaza border, according to the Palestinian health ministry.

Yaniv Kubovich
read more: https://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/1.829297

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Members of Islamic Defenders Front (FPI) burn a mock-up of the U.S. flag during a protest to condemn Washington’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, outside the U.S. embassy in Jakarta, Indonesia December 11, 2017. REUTERS/Beawiharta Reuters
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Protesters outside the US Embassy in Beirut, December 10, 2017. AP photo
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Israel: Hamas-Ordered Protests after Friday Prayers Lead to Bloobshed Among Palestinians, Israeili Security Forces

December 15, 2017

New clashes as deadly fallout over Jerusalem continues

AFP

© Mohammed Abed, AFP | Palestinian protesters carry away an injured man during clashes with Israeli security forces near the border fence with Israel, east of Gaza City, on December 15.

Text by FRANCE 24 

Latest update : 2017-12-15

Palestinian protesters clashed anew with Israeli forces on Friday as the fallout continued from US President Donald Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, with two Palestinians killed by Israeli forces in Gaza.

Following Muslim prayers on Friday, Palestinians set fire to tires and threw rocks at Israeli soldiers, who responded with tear gas and live fire in the West Bank and along the Gaza border.

Israeli police said a Palestinian was shot after he attacked an officer with a knife, stabbing him twice, near the West Bank city of Ramallah. Spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said the officer was moderately injured. The attacker was evacuated from the scene by the Red Crescent medical service.

Police are investigating reports that the Palestinian was wearing a suicide bomb vest or a fake explosive device, Rosenfeld said. He said police are also checking to see if the Palestinian was posing as a journalist to get close to the officer.

Hamas calls for new uprising

Palestinians have been clashing with Israeli troops across the West Bank and the Gaza border since Trump recognised Jerusalem as the Israeli capital. The Islamic militant group Hamas that rules Gaza has called for a new armed uprising against Israel in response to Trump’s declaration.

>> A disputed capital: Why the status of Jerusalem is so contentious

Protests in response to the announcement have taken place in various Arab and Muslim countries in the region. The announcement departed from decades of US policy that the fate of Jerusalem should be decided through peace negotiations. East Jerusalem is home to sensitive Jewish, Muslim and Christian holy sites and the fate of the territory is an emotionally charged issue at the heart of the conflict. The Palestinians seek East Jerusalem, captured by Israel in the 1967 Six-Day war, as the capital of their hoped-for state. Israel says the entire city, including East Jerusalem, remains its eternal capital.

Palestinians were infuriated by Trump’s December 6 announcement because they saw it as siding with Israel on the most sensitive issue in the conflict. Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas has said Trump’s move disqualified the US from continuing in its role as the traditional mediator of peace talks.

Trump said his decision merely recognises the reality that Jerusalem already serves as Israel’s capital and is not meant to prejudge the final borders of the city.

(FRANCE 24 with AP and AFP)

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Fresh Palestinian protests against Trump Jerusalem decision

December 15, 2017

AFP

© AFP / by Joe Dyke | Israeli security forces detain a Palestinian youth in Jerusalem’s Old City

JERUSALEM (AFP) – Thousands of Palestinians took part in fresh protests Friday against Washington’s controversial recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, but a week on there is no sign of a threatened new intifada.US President Donald Trump’s December 6 announcement that he would break with decades of American policy and move his embassy to Jerusalem has stirred international condemnation, as well as protests across the Palestinian territories and Arab world.

Four Palestinians have been killed, with more than 1000 wounded, according to the Palestinian health ministry.

Protesters have burned American and Israeli flags and trampled on pictures of Trump. But concerns that the decision would lead to a major wave of bloodshed have as yet not materialised.

Protests broke out across the Palestinian territories for the second Friday in a row after the end of weekly Muslim prayers, often a catalyst for clashes between young Palestinians and Israeli soldiers.

In Gaza, the strip’s Islamist rulers Hamas had called for another ‘day of rage’ against the decision, with tens of thousands taking to the streets.

Clashes were expected along the border with Israel later Friday.

In the occupied West Bank, a few thousand people gathered in the southern city of Hebron, as well as Nablus in the north, with clashes near the Al-Arroub camp, south of Bethlehem.

In Jerusalem itself, around 30,000 people prayed at the Al-Aqsa mosque, the third holiest site for Muslims, the Islamic organisation that administers the site said.

The vast majority left without incident, but small scuffles broke out in Jerusalem’s Old City.

The status of Jerusalem is one of the most controversial issues in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Israel seized control of the eastern part of the city in the 1967 Middle East war and sees the whole of Jerusalem as its undivided capital, while the Palestinians view the east as the capital of their future state.

For decades global powers have avoided taking an opinion, keeping their embassies in Tel Aviv instead.

Trump declared, however, that he would move the embassy and recognised the city as Israel’s capital.

Amid condemnation from much of the international community, the Palestinians have announced they will no longer view the Americans as mediator in negotiations with the Israelis.

A poll conducted after Trump’s announcement by the respected Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research found 45 percent of Palestinians supported a violent popular uprising, up from 35 percent three months prior.

Khalil Shikaki, the center’s director, said the “only possible explanation” for the increase was Trump’s decision.

He said, however, the effectiveness of the Israeli forces and the Palestinian security forces’ ongoing security cooperation with them had ensured the protests in the West Bank remained relatively minor in scale.

While angered by Trump’s declaration, Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas has not instructed his party Fatah or security forces to cut ties with Israel.

“Hamas is too weak in the West Bank to carry out any serious attacks (and) Fatah does not want to engage in violence,” Shikaki said.

“This is not likely to change any time soon.”

Image result for Ismail Haniya, photos

Ismail Haniya with Iran’s Supreme Leader

“We ask churches, the Pope and our Christian brothers to devote their Sunday prayers to Jerusalem,” he added.

Image result for Ismail Haniya, photos

Ismail Haniya

In Gaza, hermetically sealed off by Israel and Egypt, at least 12 rockets or mortars have been fired from the territory since Trump’s announcement, with Israel hitting at least 10 sites in reply.

But the response has been relatively muted compared to some of the warnings, said Ofer Zalzberg, Israel-based analyst with the International Crisis Group think-tank.

He said the lack of serious blowback to Trump’s announcement had encouraged right wingers in Israel’s government to question whether “maybe other things that people said were impossible are not”.

by Joe Dyke
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Hamas chief calls for fresh protests against Trump Jerusalem move (Initial round of protests sputtered out)

December 14, 2017

AFP

© AFP | Hamas supporters take part in a rally marking the 30th anniversary of the founding of the Islamist movement, in Gaza City, on December 14, 2017

GAZA CITY (PALESTINIAN TERRITORIES) (AFP) – The head of Palestinian Islamist movement Hamas called Thursday for fresh protests across the world against US President Donald Trump’s controversial recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.”We demand the Islamic world make every Friday a day of anger and revolution in every capital and city until we bring down Trump’s decision,” Ismail Haniya said.

Image result for Ismail Haniya, photos

Ismail Haniya with Iran’s Supreme Leader

“We ask churches, the Pope and our Christian brothers to devote their Sunday prayers to Jerusalem,” he added.

Image result for Ismail Haniya, photos

Ismail Haniya

Speaking in front of tens of thousands of supporters in Hamas-run Gaza at an event to commemorate the Islamist movement’s 30th anniversary, Haniya railed against Trump’s December 6 announcement that he would move his country’s embassy to Jerusalem and recognise the city as Israel’s capital.

“We will bring down Trump’s decision once and for all,” he added.

The event was attended by major Hamas figures as well as politicians from other political parties, including longtime rivals Fatah.

The two signed an October reconciliation agreement that was supposed to see Hamas hand over control in Gaza by December 1, but the deal has faltered.

Hamas seized control of Gaza from Fatah in 2007 and has fought three wars with Israel since.

It is considered a terrorist organisation by Israel, the United States and others.

Since Trump’s controversial announcement last week, at least 12 rockets or mortars have been fired from Gaza towards Israel.

In response the Jewish state’s army has hit at least 10 targets in Gaza, mostly Hamas bases.

Protests in other parts of the Palestinian territories, as well as across the Arab world, have broken out since Trump’s announcement.

© 2017 AFP