US Embassy Move to Jerusalem? Protests Around the World Say “No Way”
By: Michaela Schrum/Arab America Contributing Writer
After ignoring the advice from numerous foreign policy advisors in the United States and the international community, President Trump last Wednesday announced that the United States would move its embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, and formally recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.
Since then, the world has erupted in thousands of protests with an almost unanimous cry of disapproval. At almost every US embassy, there has been a demonstration of some sort. In Palestine, demonstrations have been mostly peaceful, but about 800 Palestinians have been injured by tear gas, rubber bullets, and sound bombs used by Israeli soldiers. The Red Crescent has stated that they have treated about 767 people who suffered from these injuries.
But protests have not just occurred in Palestine. In Beirut, Lebanon, protests broke out just outside the US embassy. Some protesters attempted to tear down the barbed wire on embassy structures. Some burnt tires to create a black smoke to call attention to the protest, and others threw rocks while the crowd shouted slogans against the President Trump’s decision. Similar protests have shown up all over the Arab world.
Protests also flared up in the United States. Cities like New York, Chicago, Pittsburgh, and Los Angeles saw massive demonstrations. The movement reached even small towns like Bowling Green, Ohio and others.
The world’s citizens were joined in their outrage by many world leaders. Emmanuel Marcon called the move “dangerous to peace” in France’s most recent talks with Israel. The Crown prince of Abu Dhabi said that the decision “extended a lifeline to terrorists” and Hamas has called for another Intifada as this was a “declaration of war against Palestine”. This response has come just after talks to reconcile Hamas and Fatah which were recognized as instrumental in the peace process. President of Palestine, Mahmoud Abbas has stated that the United States may not participate as a mediator between Palestine and Israel anymore. Palestine’s chief negotiator has said that Palestine will not talk to the Trump administration until Trump reverses his decision.
On the flip side, Prime Minister Netanyahu, when asked about the decision stated: “The sooner the Palestinians come to grips with reality, the sooner we will find peace”.
Nikki Haley stated that this decision would in fact help in the peace process.
It is clear that this administration does not get it. That this decision will not in fact help in the peace process, but that it will erase years of work foreign policy experts and Palestinian And Israeli activists have worked for. This decision is symbolic of the United States’ contempt for the violent occupation that is inflicted on Palestinians by the Israeli government. This decision is meant to further erase Palestinians and their stories. Because the United States and Israel governments value the land they have cultivated for thousands of years over the hands that have done the cultivating.
The term “Palestinian” refers to an umbrella identity- meaning that Palestinians are Muslim, Christian, Jewish, pagan or other identities in addition to being Palestinian. And this issue is more simple than President Trump, Prime Minister Netanyahu, or Nikki Haley understand: this is about human rights.
When we asked one protester if they thought the protests would change anything, he stated: “I’m not sure. One day of protests will not be sufficient, but multiple days might force the administration to do rewind a little bit- we’ll have to watch and see but without consistent protests, nothing will happen”. They also stated that “ the protests will backfire if the protests are not peaceful- nothing but non-violence will work”. The protester stated that they wanted to see more discussion come out of Jerusalem amongst the identities there.
These protests and comments made by officials around the world tell us that Palestine is not alone. The world’s citizens understand what is at stake if this decision goes through. Even Secretary Tillerson stated that the decision to move the embassy would not go into effect for at least a couple of years. Protesters everywhere call for the decision to be removed and Palestine to be recognized.