By Nour Abu Aisha
GAZA CITY, Palestine (AA) - Hundreds of Palestinians on Friday staged demonstrations in the Gaza Strip to protest a decision by the U.S. to add Hamas chief Ismail Haniyeh’s name to its terrorist blacklist.
Organized by various Palestinian political factions, protest marches set out on Friday from mosques throughout the besieged coastal territory.
On Wednesday, the U.S. administration classified Haniyeh as a “specially designated global terrorist” and imposed a raft of financial sanctions against him.
Haniyeh has been a vocal critic of U.S. President Donald Trump's recent decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital -- a move that drew widespread condemnation and protest from across the Arab and Muslim world.
Participants in Friday’s rallies in Gaza also condemned a U.S. decision to withhold $65 million in financial aid to the UN Relief and Works Agency, which provides services to millions of Palestinian refugees scattered throughout the region.
Addressing demonstrators, Hamas spokesman Samaan Atallah said: “We hope the Arab and Muslim nation (Ummah) will stand by the Palestinian people and help us liberate Jerusalem and the Al-Aqsa Mosque."
Emad al-Agha, a leader of the Fatah movement (Hamas’s secular rival), decried Haniyeh’s “terrorist” designation, urging Palestinians to escalate their protest activity against “hostile” U.S. policy decisions.