Palestinian factions in the West Bank announced on Tuesday that they would carry out three days of protest across the West Bank over U.S. President Donald Trump’s expected decision regarding American policy on Jerusalem.
Trump on Tuesday told Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Jordan’s King Abdullah II he intends to move the American Embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.
The Palestinian factions said protests will start on Wednesday and last until Friday at the very least. According to Palestinian leaders, marches against the decision are being backed by the Palestinian Authority.
Fatah Central Committee member Jamal Mahisan told Haaretz that Trump’s decision was an inflammatory material that will inspire Palestinians to take to the streets in rage. “The Palestinian people know how to protect their rights and we are in consultations regarding [our moves] in the coming days.” The Israeli defense establishment is preparing for the demonstrations ahead, with intelligence assessments based on decisions taken by the PA and by different factions within Palestinian society. Most of the activity is expected to take place in city centers, near American embassies and consulates.
The main procession is planned for midday Thursday in al-Manara Square in Ramallah. People from across the West Bank are expected to join the march. On Wednesday, a large demonstration is scheduled to take place in Jenin.
The Israeli military has decided to augment forces, mainly at prominent friction spots where soldiers come into contact with Palestinians. Further reinforcements will be made based on operational needs and according to developments.
The police are also preparing, with reinforcements planned for Jerusalem and around the American embassy in Tel Aviv. Thousands of policemen are expected to be on duty in Jerusalem on Friday. The main concern is that lone wolf attacks will be carried out by perpetrators across the city.
Abbas told Trump that moving the embassy would have “dangerous consequences,” his spokesperson Nabil Abu Rudeineh said, adding that Abbas is “holding an emergency meeting in his bureau following the phone conversation with Trump.”
Jordan also responded with dismay to Trump’s decision, with Abdullah warning of repercussions on Middle East security and stability. According to Jordanian media, Abdullah pledged to thwart any American initiative to renew the peace process and would encourage rage and resistance among Muslims and Christians alike.
Jordan also plans to convene an emergency meeting of the Arab League and Organization of Islamic Cooperation next Saturday and Sunday to discuss Trump’s moves.
Abdullah spoke to Abbas Tuesday, and the two decided to act in complete coordination following the report on Trump’s decision. Abbas also spoke with Russian President Vladimir Putin. During the call, Putin told Abbas that Moscow supports the resumption of talks between Israel and Palestinian Authorities, including on status of Jerusalem, a statement released by the Kremlin said.
Trump also contacted Egypt’s al-Sissi to announce his decision. Egypt has said previously that it would not embrace such a move, and has also warned Trump of “possible dangerous repercussions.”
Senior U.S. officials have said Trump is likely on Wednesday to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital while delaying relocating the embassy from Tel Aviv for another six months, though he is expected to order his aides to begin planning such a move immediately. The officials said, however, that no final decisions have been made.
Saudi Arabia, Arab League representatives, Iraq and Iraq have all joined the condemnations against Trump’s expected move.
Arab officials in Israel also responded with outrage. Arab leader Ayman Odeh, who chairs the Arab Joint List, called Trump “a pyromaniac who could set the entire region on fire with his madness.”
“The last few days, Odeh continued in a written statement, “prove decisively that the United States cannot remain the sponsor or arbitrator in negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians. If the Israeli government wants the world to recognize West Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, all it has to do is recognize East Jerusalem as the capital of Palestine.”
Arab MK Ahmed Tibi echoed Odeh’s fierce statement, calling Trump’s reported decision to move the embassy to Jerusalem a “political terror attack.”
“The American government,” Tibi said, “proves this time that it is part of the problem and not part of the solution.”