The Palestinian Authority and its ruling Fatah party urged Palestinians in the West Bank to take part in widespread protests Monday against the opening of the US embassy in Jerusalem.
The protests are part of Nakba Day, a national day of Palestinian mourning marking the “catastrophe” of Israel’s founding, commemorated every year on May 15, but this year brought forward a day due to the embassy opening.
The National Committee for the Commemoration of the Nakba announced a protest march beginning at 11 a.m. in Ramallah which will head toward the Qalandiya checkpoint, on the outskirts of Jerusalem. At the same time demonstrations will be held in other cities in the West Bank, including Bethlehem, Hebron, Nablus and Jericho.
On its Facebook page the committee told Palestinians their “presence is a national duty” in order to reject US President Donald Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and the relocation of the embassy.
“We call on the young people to clash with the occupation forces at points of conflict and checkpoints,” the committee said, according to a report in Haaretz.
At the same time The High Follow-Up Committee for Arab Citizens of Israel called for demonstrations in Jerusalem to “raise our voice against US policy that supports Israeli occupation and settlements, in a desperate American-Israeli effort to kill all chances for the creation of an independent and sovereign Palestinian state on the 1967 borders with Jerusalem as its capital,” committee head Mohammad Barake said, according to a Ma’an news agency report.
Though it was unclear how many Palestinians would take part in the protests, the Israel Defense Forces was bracing for violence in the West Bank and East Jerusalem.
The army announced on Saturday it had deployed an extra brigade to the West Bank, as well as two extra brigades to the Gaza border.
The planned protests in Jerusalem will coincide with a planned mass rally in Gaza, where Israel is preparing for the possibility of over 100,000 people rallying and rioting along the border and attempting to breach it and enter Israel.
Security in Jerusalem has been bolstered for the official opening of the US embassy in the capital.
A police official told the Ynet news site Saturday that thousands of uniformed police and Border Police officers will be deployed throughout Jerusalem starting Sunday. He said the officers will secure the perimeter of the US embassy during the Monday opening, assist in securing the visiting American officials and help direct traffic.
Part of the preparations for the embassy ceremony have included carrying out “overt and covert operations against anyone who intended to disrupt or damage the ceremony,” he said.