Hamas: Won't stop protests when U.S. embassy opens in Jerusalem

By Ed Adamczyk  |  Updated March 9, 2018 at 3:50 PM
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March 9 (UPI) -- Palestinian group Hamas said it won't be able to stop planned protests in May when the United States moves its embassy to Jerusalem.

Ismail Haniyeh said he predicts thousands of demonstrators at the Gaza-Israel border on May 14, the day President Donald Trump said the American embassy will move from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

A tent city at the border is already under construction, and earlier this week Palestinian leaders in Gaza City called for daily sit-ins in the days leading up to the transfer date.

The border is a frequent site of clashes between Palestinians and Israeli security forces.

May 15, the day after the expected transfer, is regarded by Palestinians as Nabka Day, a day of mourning marking the founding of Israel.

"We cannot stop the tens of thousands of residents who will go north, south and east to protest against the siege imposed upon the Gaza Strip," Haniyeh said.

Trump announced the move in December, which drew considerable backlash and suggestions from Arab leaders, including Palestinians, that the United States can no longer be an effective or respected negotiator of peace in the Middle East.

U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson's confirmation of the date last month was greeted as a provocation threatening Palestinian identity, Palestinian news website Ahram Online reported.

The status of Jerusalem, Israel's largest city and Palestine's planned capital, should it achieve sovereignty, has long been a hurdle in the peace process.

In a statement, Arab League Secretary General Ahmed Abul-Gheit said, "The U.S. decision reveals its complete bias towards Israel and lack of wise perspective of the nature and history of the 70-year conflict."

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