Abbas vows Palestinian rage will continue: ‘We’ll never back down’

PA chief’s spokesman says US Jerusalem policy will not be allowed to go forward, affirms meeting with Pence unlikely to happen

Palestinian Authority Mahmoud Abbas speaks during a meeting in the West Bank city of Ramallah on July 25, 2017. (AFP Photo/Abbas Momani)
Palestinian Authority Mahmoud Abbas speaks during a meeting in the West Bank city of Ramallah on July 25, 2017. (AFP Photo/Abbas Momani)

Palestinians will “never back down” and “will not allow implementation” of new US policy in Jerusalem, a spokesman for Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas said Friday, as thousands protested and clashed with Israeli security forces throughout the West Bank.

The spokesman vowed that Palestinian “rage” would continue.

Abbas’s Fatah movement said earlier that by recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, Trump issued “a declaration of war against the Palestinian people,” Army Radio reported. The US president had harmed the Arab and Muslim nation, a Fatah spokesman said. “Someone with no right to intervene had awarded [Jerusalem] to someone with no right to it,” the radio reported quoted the spokesman saying.

Jibril Rajoub, a senior Fatah official, said Thursday that US Vice President Mike Pence — due in the region later this month — was now “unwanted in Palestine.”

Abbas’s spokesman appeared to confirm that a meeting between the PA chief and Pence was no longer in the cards.

“Jerusalem is more important than the US administration, and we will not give it up for a meeting,” he said.

US Vice President Mike Pence arrives at the Muniz National Guard Air Base, in San Juan, Puerto Rico, October 6, 2017. (AP Photo/Carlos Giusti)

White House officials have said Pence “still plans to meet with Abbas as scheduled” and “believes it would be counterproductive for him to pull out of the meeting.”

An estimated 3,000 Palestinian protesters held demonstrations and clashed with Israeli security forces at some 30 locations across the West Bank and Gaza Strip on Friday after midday prayers.

Palestinian officials reported over 200 people injured in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, the vast majority of them lightly, from tear gas inhalation. Seven were hit by live bullets, and 45 by rubber bullets, the Palestinian Red Crescent ambulance service said.

A Palestinian protester throws rocks at Israeli security forces near a checkpoint in the West Bank city of Ramallah on December 8, 2017. (Abbas Momani/AFP)

Palestinian officials said one demonstrator was killed at the Gaza border fence. The Israeli army said it fired on two “inciters” at the fence. It said there was six points along the fence where protesters gathered and burned tires. The Red Cross in Gaza reported that 15 people were injured by tear gas and rubber bullets.

In a Wednesday address from the White House, Trump defied worldwide warnings and insisted that after repeated failures to achieve peace a new approach was long overdue, describing his decision to recognize Jerusalem as the seat of Israel’s government as merely based on reality.

The move was hailed by Prime Minister Netanyahu and by leaders across much of the Israeli political spectrum. Trump stressed that he was not specifying the boundaries of Israeli sovereignty in the city, and called for no change in the status quo at the city’s holy sites.

Judah Ari Gross and agencies contributed to this report.

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