December 7, 2017 / 10:45 AM / in 2 years

Palestinians speed up Gaza handover talks amid anger at U.S., Israel

A wounded Palestinian protester is evacuated during clashes with Israeli troops at a protest against U.S. President Donald Trump's decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, near the border with Israel in the southern Gaza Strip December 7, 2017. REUTERS/Ibraheem Abu Mustafa

GAZA (Reuters) - Palestinian factions stepped up efforts on Thursday to finalize a Hamas handover of the Gaza Strip to President Mahmoud Abbas as protests broke out in the enclave against the U.S. recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

Under Egyptian mediation, the factions have sought to end a schism dating back to 2007, when Islamist Hamas seized Gaza in a civil war with Abbas’s Fatah. A Dec. 1 deadline for giving Gaza to Abbas was postponed to Dec. 10 amid disputes.

U.S. President Donald Trump’s announcement on disputed Jerusalem on Wednesday infuriated Palestinians, who see the city as their future capital, prompting Hamas to call for a revolt against Israel and demand that Abbas abandon American-sponsored peace-making.

Worried that the recrimination could disrupt the reconciliation efforts, Palestinian Prime Minister Rami Al-Hamdallah and other Fatah delegates arrived in Gaza on Thursday to meet Hamas.

“This historical stage requires that we all unite and speed up the steps of uniting the homeland,” Al-Hamdallah told reporters.

After Hamas’ call for an “intifada”, or uprising, dozens of Palestinians gathered at two points on the Gaza border fence with Israel and threw rocks at soldiers on the other side.

One Palestinian was wounded by army fire, medics said. An Israeli military spokeswoman said she was checking the report.

In cities inside Gaza, thousands of Palestinians rallied, some chanting: “Death to America! Death to the fool Trump!” and burning tires.

Reporting by Nidal al-Mughrabi, Writing by Dan Williams, Editing by Angus MacSwan

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