'Resistance is not terrorism': Palestinians burn effigies of Trump in Gaza
Palestinians in Gaza from across the political spectrum united in denouncing the remarks, which have been interpreted as a blanket condemnation of all forms of Palestinian resistance.
Shortly after the speech was broadcast, Hamas reacted by accusing Trump of "complete bias" toward the policies of the Israeli occupation by designating the movement as a terrorist organization.
The designation “denies the Palestinian people's legitimate right to resistance to liberate their land and holy places,” Hamas, which identifies as a Islamist national resistance movement, said.
Hamas denounced Trump’s message at the summit in Saudi Arabia -- which focused heavily on what he called “the crisis of Islamist extremism” -- for attempting to divide the Muslim world, as Trump meanwhile “ignores the Zionist crimes of killing children and women and demolishing the roofs over their heads.”
Israeli officials have routinely claimed that Palestinian armed resistance is part of an international rise in Islamist extremism, while many Palestinians have instead pointed chiefly to the frustration and despair brought on by Israel's decades-long military occupation of the Palestinian territory and the absence of a political horizon.
The Palestinian Popular Resistance Committees organized a rally in Rafah city in the southern besieged coastal enclave Monday evening protesting Trump’s remarks.
Dozens of supporters crowded at Shuhada Square in the center of the city and torched US flags, as well as photos and an effigy of Donald Trump.
"Palestinian resistance is a source of pride for the nation fighting its enemy and occupier and trying to liberate its country," leader of the Popular Resistance Committees Abu Fares al-Shamali said.
Trump's remarks, al-Shamali added, were blindly throwing US support behind the interests of Israeli occupation, "which is the true source of terrorism and violence in the region and in the world," he said.
Hundreds of supporters of the leftist and secular Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) rallied in Gaza City to protest Trump’s remarks made in Riyadh, demonstrating that the comments were being interpreted as offensive to Palestinian resistance movements at large, irrespective of political or religious affiliation.
Demonstrators waving Palestinian flags, PFLP flags, as well as Hezbollah and Iranian flags rallied from Palestine Square to the prisoners' solidarity sit-in tent at Saraya Square, chanting against US policies in the region.
Two masked PFLP gunmen aimed their guns at an effigy of Trump tied up in ropes in Saraya Square, behind a banner that simply stated: “Resistance is not terrorism.”
Member of the PFLP's politburo Kayid al-Ghoul told Ma'an that the rally reflected the group's support for the demands of hunger-striking Palestinian prisoners and firm solidarity with their plight, as well as opposition to Trump’s policies, which he said were “predictably in support of Israel’s conditions for the so-called peace process.”
Al-Ghoul said that, "today, we are sending a message that the Palestinian people refuse to give up any of our rights, and refuse to go back to US-sponsored negotiations."
Member of the Islamic Jihad's politburo Muhammad al-Hindi said that “Palestinian resistance factions are holding on to Palestinian rights stronger than ever, despite all the conspiracies being planned against the Palestinian cause.”
Al-Hindi said that “Trump’s visit to Saudi Arabia and his description of the resistance as terrorism, in front of all of the Arab and Islamic world leaders, is a reflection of the ongoing deterioration in the region," referring to a growing alliance between heads of state in the region, the United States, and Israel at the expense of the Palestinian cause.
Al-Hindi denounced the leaders -- Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas among them -- for their silence to Trump's message, particularly as the US president famously hinged his presidential campaign on inflammatory, anti-Muslim rhetoric.
Touching on Trump's ambitions to secure “the ultimate deal” for Middle East peace, Amnesty International's statement also deplored successive Israeli governments for large-scale violations throughout the 50-year-long occupation of the Palestinian territory, which "have inflicted mass suffering on Palestinians."
The international rights group highlighted how the state of Israel has been "emboldened" by the new Trump administration to accelerate the expansion of illegal settlements in violation of international law as well as step up Palestinian home demolitions.
Trump’s visit to Israel and the occupied Palestinian territory was also met with a widely observed general strike and protests in the occupied West Bank, with a combined message of support for a mass hunger strike under way in Israeli prisons, and also to voice opposition to the resumption of peace talks between the Palestinian Authority and Israel under US sponsorship.