Israeli Arabs Chant 'Hands Off Al Quds' in Protest Against Trump's Jerusalem Move Outside U.S. Embassy

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Israeli Arabs protest Trump's Jerusalem move outside the U.S. Embassy in Tel Aviv, December 12, 2017.
Israeli Arabs protest Trump's Jerusalem move outside the U.S. Embassy in Tel Aviv, December 12, 2017.Credit: Moti Milrod
Ari Plachta
Ari Plachta

Around 100 Arab citizens of Israel demonstrated in front of U.S. Embassy in Tel Aviv Tuesday night to protest Trump's landmark decision recognizing Jerusalem as Israel's capital.

The predominantly male crowd chanted, among other things, "Trump, Israel, Jerusalem is Arab. Jerusalem is Muslim" and held signs saying "Trump's decision violates international law" and "Hands off Al Quds."

Arab Israelis protest Trump Jerusalem move in front of the U.S. embassy in Tel AvivCredit: Haaretz/Reuters

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Speaking at the demonstration, lawmaker Aida Touma-Sliman (Joint List) stressed the importance of Israeli Arabs coming from all over Israel to protest Trump's decision. "For our people, there is a lot of anger over this position. This decision clarifies for us further that the U.S. is not a neutral player in making peace. The U.S. is an ally of the Israeli occupation."

In a message for all Israelis, she said "we have Jewish Israelis here tonight, because they know that this decision is only leading us to further disaster for both peoples."

Israeli Arabs in protest outside the U.S. embassy over Trump's Jerusalem move on Tuesday, December 12, 2017. Credit: Moti Milrod

Rohi, a resident of the northern, Arab local council of Bu'eine Nujeidat, came to the demonstration with his wife and says he made the trip to Tel Aviv to express his emotions following Trump's decision. He declined to share his last name.

"Al Quds is the Muslim capital, and the capital of our state. Trump cancelled Palestinian identity in Jerusalem. If he really wanted peace, he wouldn't have done this."

Abu Ajewh, an Imam from the Hassan Bek Mosque in Jaffa, did not travel far to join the protest, but says it's not about how far people come or how many show up. "It's about the feeling, our passion," he says. "We just want people to hear our voice protesting this decision. Arab and Muslim countries are protesting to support us, and countries around the world are against Trump's decision. We won't accept it."

Mohammed Barakeh, head of the Higher Arab Monitoring Committee and former leader of Hadash (a Jewish-Arab political party), blasted Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman who made public remarks in the wake of Trump's declaration last week.
Lieberman said Israeli Arabs from the region of Wadi Ara "do not belong to the State of Israel" and should be boycotted. 

Israeli Arabs gather outside the U.S. Embassy in Tel Aviv to protest Trump's Jerusalem declaration on December 12, 2017. Credit: Moti Milrod

"Ministers like Lieberman who say they want to transfer our rights to the PA don't understand. The Palestinians are our brothers, but we were born here and we will continue to live on this land."

This is not the first protest by Israeli Arabs in the fallout of Trump's announcement.

This past Saturday, some 200 protesters blocked in Wadi Ara blocked traffic and threw stones at passing vehicles in a violent demonstration.

Additional protests were reported throughout Israel over the weekend, including in Majdal Shams, along the border with Syria in the north, in the Bedouin city of Rahat in southern Israel, in Taibeh, Kfar Kara, and the German Colony in Haifa. Members of Knesset from the Joint Arab List participated in some of these protests.

Outside Israel, other neighboring countries also took to the streets to express their outrage over the U.S. president's recognition of Jerusalem. In Lebanon, a demonstration was held outside the U.S. Embassy in Beirut, which turned violent.

In Indonesia, which boasts of the world's largest amount of Muslim residents, thousands of protesters gathered outside the U.S. Embassy in Jakarta, the capital. Other protests in the past week took place in Turkey, Pakistan, Malaysia and Egypt. 

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