Day 5: Protests in Middle East over Trump's Jerusalem move

Hezbollah, which fought a war with Israel in 2006, called for the demonstration in Beirut''s southern suburbs, with large crowds and a speech by the Shiite group''s leader Hassan Nasrallah expected in the afternoon.

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Jerusalem, Publish Date: Dec 12 2017 12:51AM | Updated Date: Dec 12 2017 12:51AM
Day 5: Protests in Middle East over Trump's Jerusalem moveFile Photo

A fifth day of angry protests was expected in the Middle East today over US President Donald Trump's declaration of Jerusalem as Israel's capital, as Palestinian leader Mahmud Abbas visited Cairo for crisis talks.

As near universal criticism of Trump's decision mounted, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu held talks with EU foreign ministers in Brussels, declaring that the move he has lauded as historic "makes peace possible".

But further protests were being planned for Lebanon and Iran as well as in east Jerusalem and the Palestinian territories.

Hezbollah, which fought a war with Israel in 2006, called for the demonstration in Beirut's southern suburbs, with large crowds and a speech by the Shiite group's leader Hassan Nasrallah expected in the afternoon.

A large turnout was also expected for a protest in Tehran.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said on Sunday that Trump's decision threw "fuel on the fire" of Middle Eastern tensions and would not be tolerated.

A protest was being organised in the afternoon in front of a US cultural centre in east Jerusalem, while another was planned for Bethlehem in the occupied West Bank.

In Ramallah today, dozens of Palestinians threw stones at Israeli soldiers in the latest such clash.

Palestinian demonstrations have declined in number and intensity since reaching a peak on Friday, but there are concerns they will again increase later this week.

Four Palestinians have so far been killed in clashes or Israeli air strikes in response to rocket fire from Gaza, while hundreds have been wounded.

Tens of thousands have also demonstrated in a range of Middle Eastern and Muslim nations.

Palestinian leaders have been outraged by Trump's move, but they also face difficult choices in how to respond since they rely on US aid and would like to salvage remaining hopes of a two-state solution to the conflict.

Abbas will refuse to meet with US Vice President Mike Pence when he visits the region later this month, Palestinian officials say, a move that led Washington to accuse the Palestinian leader of "walking away" from a chance to discuss peace.

Abbas was today to hold talks with President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi in Egypt -- a key US ally in the region -- ahead of a summit of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation, the main pan-Islamic body, on Wednesday.

"Our message to the entire world is that Jerusalem is a Palestinian city and the US decision is rejected and denounced," Abbas spokesman Nabil Abu Rudeineh said, quoted by official news agency WAFA. Agencies