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Clashes follow Donald Trump’s Jerusalem declaration — with fears of escalation

Stoked up: Palestinian protesters set fire to a tyre wall near an Israeli checkpoint in Ramallah PICTURE: GETTY

VIOLENCE has erupted across the occupied West Bank following Donald Trump’s move to recognise Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

At least 17 have been wounded so far in the clashes between Palestinian demonstrators and Israeli troops, and while most of the injuries come from tear gas or rubber bullets, reports suggest at least one was from live gunfire.

The leader of the Hamas militant group, which runs Gaza, called for a new armed uprising in a widespread show of anger over the US president’s move.

In response, Palestinians in the both the West Bank and the Gaza Strip have gone on strike and taken to the streets in protest.

According to eyewitnesses, crowds of protesters set tyres on fire in the West Bank and threw stones at anti-riot troops.

Moving in: Israeli soldiers prepare to engage with protesters near the West Bank village of Betunia PICTURE: GETTY

In the biblical town of Bethlehem, troops fired water cannon and tear gas to disperse a crowd in clashes that could cloud the upcoming Christmas celebrations in the town of Jesus’s birth.

In Ramallah, the seat of the Palestinian government, protesters set tyres on fire, sending a thick plume of black smoke over the city.

Mr Trump’s dramatic announcement yesterday, which was greeted with widespread condemnation and accusations of favouritism, ends decades of US policy on Jerusalem

It counters long-standing international assurances to the Palestinians that the fate of the city will be determined in negotiations.

Mr Trump claimed he was making the move for positive reasons, saying: ‘I’ve judged this course of action to be in the best interests of the United States of America and the pursuit of peace between Israel and the Palestinians.’

Out in force: Protesters gather in Ramallah’s streets PICTURE: GETTY

Now, there are fears today’s skirmishes could escalate.

In the Gaza Strip, Hamas’s leader Ismail Haniyeh called on Palestinians to launch a new intifada, or uprising, against Israel tomorrow.

‘The American decision is an aggression on our people and a war on our sanctuaries, Haniyeh said in a speech, urging supporters ‘to be ready for any orders’.