Fatah calls for protests against Pence visit

US plan to declare Al Buraq Wall part of Israel will add fuel to fire

RAMALLAH (Agencies)

The Fatah faction of Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas on wednesday called for demonstrations this week when US Vice-President Mike Pence visits occupied Jerusalem.

Breaking with decades with US policy, President Donald Trump announced on December 6 his decision to recognise occupied Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

The move, which has stirred global condemnation and sparked protests and deadly clashes, also prompted Abbas to cancel a meeting with Pence, who arrives on Wednesday in occupied Jerusalem.

Egypt’s Coptic Church, Al Azhar and the Muslim Custodian who holds the keys to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre have also rejected a meeting requested by Pence.

Fatah called for a day of “protests” on Wednesday near occupied Jerusalem “against the visit of the American vice-president and Trump’s decision”, a statement said. The call to protest came as thousands of Palestinians took part in funerals for men killed in clashes with Israeli forces. One of those killed was Ebrahim Abu Thuraya, a Palestinian who lost his legs in an Israeli attack on Gaza in 2008, who, with his wheelchair, was a regular feature at protests along the Gaza border.

Meanwhile, senior Trump administration officials outlined their view on Friday that occupied Jerusalem’s Al Buraq Wall ultimately will be declared a part of Israel, in another declaration sure to enflame passions among Palestinians.

“We cannot envision any situation under which the Western Wall [Al Buraq Wall] would not be part of Israel. But as the president said, the specific boundaries of sovereignty of Israel are going to be part of the final status agreement,” a senior administration official said. Another official later added by email, “We note that we cannot imagine Israel would sign a peace agreement that didn’t include the Western Wall.”


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