Israeli troops reinforce West Bank in Trump’s wake

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Jerusalem protest
A protester holds a Palestinian flag during clashes with Israeli troops at a protest against US President Donald J. Trump’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, near the border with Israel in the southern Gaza Strip on Dec. 7. -- REUTERS

JERUSALEM — The Israeli military said it was reinforcing troops deployed in the occupied West Bank on Thursday as Palestinians protested against the US recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

Several new army battalions would be deployed and other forces put on standby, a military statement said, calling the measures “part of the IDF’s (Israel Defence Forces) readiness for possible developments.”

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Thursday many countries would follow the United States in recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and contacts were underway.

Wednesday’s announcement by US President Donald J. Trump reversed decades of peace-making policy on Jerusalem, which both Israelis and Palestinians claim, and drew censure from many countries, among them key allies of Washington.

“I would like to announce that we are already in contact with other countries which will issue a similar recognition,” Mr. Netanyahu said in a speech at Israel’s Foreign Ministry.

He did not name any of these countries.

The United States plans to open an embassy in Jerusalem, a move it says could take three to four years. The US Embassy is currently in Tel Aviv, Israel’s economic hub, as are those of other countries.

“I have no doubt that the moment the American Embassy moves to Jerusalem, and even before then, there will be a movement of many embassies to Jerusalem. The time has come,” Mr. Netanyahu said.

Palestinian Islamist group Hamas called on Thursday for a new uprising against Israel after Mr. Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as the Israeli capital. — Reuters