In the wake of President Donald Trump’s announcement on December 6, recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, harsh reactions are pouring in from the region and Moslem countries.
Lebanon’s pro-Hezbollah newspaper al-Akhbar published “Death to America on its front page. Other Lebanese newspapers also carried critical headlines and opinions.
Hezbollah’s leader, Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah is scheduled to deliver a televised address at 16:00 GMT (11:00 am EST).
Al-Akhbar called Trump's decision "America's new Balfour," referring to the Balfour Declaration in which Britain endorsed the establishment of a Jewish homeland in the Middle East a century ago.
"Today in Palestine there is a capable, empowered resistance that owns thousands of rockets that can strike Tel Aviv," it said.
The Islamist group Hamas urged Palestinians on Thursday to abandon peace efforts and launch a new uprising against Israel. Meanwhile, Israel announced it is reinforcing its troops around Palestinian territories.
The al-Qaida-linked extremist group al-Shabab, operating mainly in Somalia urged Moslems to take up weapons in response to President Donald Trump's recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital.
Iraq also demanded the U.S. to backtrack on its decision. "We caution against the dangerous repercussions of this decision on the stability of the region and the world," an Iraqi government statement said.
An Iran-backed militia, Harakat Hezbollah al-Nujaba, said that Trumps “stupid” decision could become a legitimate reason to attack U.S. troops.
The U.S. has more than 5,000 troops in Iraq. The Nujaba is numbered around 10,000.
Iranian officials have also condemned the U.S. move but no significant public protests have taken place yet.
U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson responded to criticism over President Trump's decision by saying that he U.S. president is merely recognizing reality.
Tillerson defended Trump's move on the sidelines of a security conference in Vienna. European foreign ministers are roundly condemning the decision.
Tillerson said the United States would still support a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict "if that's the desire of the two parties." He added Jerusalem's final status is still for Israelis and Palestinians to workout.
Schools and shops are closed in the West Bank, as Palestinians are protesting the recognition of contested Jerusalem as Israel's capital.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan continued Turkish criticism of Trump’s move, accusing him of throwing the Middle East into a “ring of fire” by declaring Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.
Speaking on Thursday morning, Erdogan also compared President Donald Trump to a "blender" that is stirring up trouble in the region.
Political leaders and observers across the globe are concerned about violence or armed attacks taking place in the wake of the U.S. decision.
So far, there has been no serious violence, but things can be different on Friday, the Moslem holy day, when sermons are delivered in Mosques throughout the region.
Radio Free Europe's correspondents in Pakistan says that a coalition of forty religious parties and groups, "Difiayi Pakistan" (Defense of Pakistan) has called for large protests on Friday. The groups which are members of the coalition are known to have close relations with militants.
With reporting by Reuters and AP