US President Donald Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital sparked a Palestinian general strike and a call for a new intifada on Thursday as fears grew of fresh bloodshed in the region.
At least 31 Palestinians were wounded in clashes in the Gaza Strip and across the occupied West Bank during protests against Mr Trump’s declaration. Israel deployed hundreds of extra troops in the West Bank as Palestinians went on strike and took to the streets.
Mr Trump’s announcement on Wednesday night — drawing condemnation from world leaders and sending shock waves through the Muslim world — reversed decades of US policy on the sensitive issue.
On Thursday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu addressed a conference of foreign diplomats in Jerusalem, saying that other countries had begun pledging to also recognise the city as Israel’s capital.
“Welcome to Jerusalem, the capital of Israel, if you weren’t aware of it. We have been aware of this for 3,000 years,” he said at the event.
But key US allies, including the UK and Australia, made clear they did not plan to follow Mr Trump’s lead on the issue.
India too made it clear on Thursday that it had no such intention of following the US’ lead. In a brief statement, the MEA said in New Delhi, “India’s position on Palestine is independent and consistent. It is shaped by our views and interests, and not determined by any third country.”