BEIRUT (Reuters) - Lebanon’s Hezbollah group joined calls on Thursday for a new Palestinian uprising in response to the U.S. recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.
U.S. President Donald Trump’s decision amounted to an act of “blatant aggression” against the Arab and Muslim world, the leader of the Shi’ite Muslim political and military movement, Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah, said in a televised speech.
Governments across the region and beyond warned that Trump’s reversal of decades of American policy on Jerusalem would imperil Middle East peace efforts.
Palestinian factions called for a “Day of Rage” on Friday, and Islamist group Hamas urged Palestinians to abandon negotiations and launch a new uprising against Israel.
“We support the call for a new Palestinian intifada (uprising) and escalating the resistance,” Nasrallah said. “It is the biggest, most important and gravest response to the American decision.”
Nasrallah, who described Trump’s move as “a major historical injustice”, did not outline any direct actions that Hezbollah would take. He called for a mass protest in Beirut’s southern suburbs on Monday.
“The people of Palestine stand today at the first line of defense for Jerusalem and its shrines,” he added.
Iran-backed Hezbollah, which Israel views as the biggest threat on its borders, has sent arms to the Palestinian territories before, Nasrallah said last month.
Hezbollah and Israel fought a war in 2006 that killed around 1,200 people in Lebanon, mostly civilians, and 160 Israelis, most of them troops. The two have avoided major confrontation since that month-long battle, though tensions had risen again earlier this year.
Nasrallah asked listeners around the region to confront the U.S. move and stand in solidarity with Palestinians. He appealed to Arab states to cut off any kind of diplomatic ties to Israel, and to summon their U.S. ambassadors in formal protest.
“Such steps will certainly make Trump regret (it),” he said.
The status of Jerusalem - home to sites holy to the Muslim, Jewish and Christian religions - represents one of the biggest obstacles to a peace deal between Israelis and Palestinians.
The international community does not recognize Israeli sovereignty over the entire city. Under the U.S.-brokered Oslo accords of 1993, negotiations should decide the city’s status. No other country has its embassy in Jerusalem.
Hezbollah’s parliamentary bloc said earlier that Trump’s decision would have “catastrophic repercussions that threaten regional and international security and stability”.
Reporting by Ellen Francis and Laila Bassam; Editing by Kevin Liffey and Andrew Heavens