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Palestinians Clash With Israeli Forces - Protests In Iran, Other Counties

Israeli border policemen and Palestinians scuffle after Friday prayers in Jerusalem's Old City, December 8, 2017

Palestinians clashed with Israeli security forces in the West Bank and Jerusalem's Old City on December 8, the second straight day of protests and violence after U.S. President Donald Trump's decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital.

Israel deployed hundreds of additional police in Jerusalem’s Old City ahead of the main weekly Muslim prayers, while the Islamist group Hamas urged Palestinians to abandon peace efforts and launch a new uprising or "intifada" to protest Trump's move.

Demonstrations of solidarity with the Palestinians were underway and expected to continue on December 8 in the Middle East and other Muslim-majority nations.

In Pakistan, protesters in Islamabad led by the hard-line religious Jamaat-e-Islami party chanted slogans against recognizing Jerusalem, while similar protests have been held in other cities and areas, including Peshawar, Swat, and Quetta, RFE/RL's Radio Mashaal reported.

Hundreds of Iranians, meanwhile, rallied throughout the country to denounce Trump’s decision, with protesters chanting "Death to America" and "Death to Israel," state television reported.

Some protesters burned pictures of Trump and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu while chanting “Death to the Devil".

A senior Iranian cleric called during Friday prayers for Palestinians to "rage" against Israel after US President Donald Trump declared Jerusalem as the capital of the Jewish state.

Ayatollah Ahmad Khatami, an ultra-conservative and a key leader of the main Friday prayers, said Trump had erased years of peace efforts by recognizing Jerusalem as Israel's capital.

"He proved that the cure for the issue of Palestine is only, only, an intifada (uprising)," Khatami, who was appointed by Iranian supreme leader Ali Khamenei, said in his sermon at Tehran's largest mosque.

"Only intifadas can turn day into a dark night for the Zionist regime," he said.

Afghan protesters shout slogans during a protest againstÊU.S. President Donald Trump's recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital, in Kabul, December 8, 2017
Afghan protesters shout slogans during a protest againstÊU.S. President Donald Trump's recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital, in Kabul, December 8, 2017

Hundreds of protesters gathered in Afghanistan's capital with placards, effigies of Trump and at least one burning U.S. flag.

"Death to America! Death to Trump and Israel!" the crowds chanted.

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, a staunch U.S. ally, has not commented on the Trump decision.

In Cairo, Egypt, a U.S. ally which has a peace treaty with Israel, hundreds of protesters who had gathered in Al-Azhar mosque and outside in its courtyard chanted “Jerusalem is Arab! O Trump, you madman, the Arab people are everywhere!"

The Friday prayer Imam at Al-Azhar said the U.S. plan to move its embassy to Jerusalem was a “terrorist decision".

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

Palestinians regard it as the capital of their future state. Israel has annexed East Jerusalem and declared all of the city as its capital, a move never recognized by the international community. Most countries have their embassies in Tel Aviv.

In his announcement, Trump said he would move the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, a move experts say could take three to four years.

He said the decision would "finally acknowledge the obvious -- that Jerusalem is Israel's capital" and that he still intends "to do everything in my power to help force" a peace agreement acceptable to both Israelis and Palestinians.

U.S. allies from Germany and Saudi Arabia to Britain and the European Union condemned Trump’s decision and said it would make negotiating peace in the region more difficult.

With reporting by Reuters, AP, AFP, dpa, the BBC, The New York Times, and RFE/RL’s Radio Mashaal