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Gaza youth speak out on Jerusalem

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President Trump on Wednesday formally recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, reversing nearly seven decades of American foreign policy and setting in motion a plan to move the United States Embassy from Tel Aviv to the fiercely contested Holy City. Palestinians view East Jerusalem as the capital of a future Palestinian state, and most of the world considers it occupied territory. Jerusalem’s Old City is home to the third-holiest mosque in Islam. Several Gaza youth from We Are Not Numbers respond:

Karama Fadel

According to the charter of the United Nations and Security Council resolutions, in particular 242, Jerusalem is an occupied territory and America has no right to declare it the capital of Israel. I think the transfer of the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem has only one meaning: that America, by defying international law, is not the democratic state it claims to be. Instead, through its brazen actions that support Israel no matter what, it is showing itself to be a terrorist state.

Does not he know what the reaction of the Arab world will be, and how much damage he will inflict upon us and even his own state? Is he really a fool? Or does he care only about business [his promises to donors]?

Fadi Al-Naji

I’m stunned! Trump should show commitment to peace, not add gas to the fire! The stupidest person is the one who thinks himself the smartest. We Palestinians will not stay silent. Israel must remember what happened when it installed metal detectors and cameras at the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound [to intimidate us]; we gave them a huge, violent blow!!

Tarneem Hammad

It will be the worst mistake in history to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. This could completely end any peace initiatives and even ignite another intifada. Trump is not only breaking longstanding international treaties by recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. He also is proving that many years of negotiations between Abbas and Netanyahu [brokered by the United States] were a complete sham.

Trump didn’t say who will control everything [in Jerusalem] but it’s obvious. The U.S. embassy is now in Jaffa, which is controlled by Israel. Can Palestinians visit Jaffa whenever they want? No. We have to seek a permit, which is rarely given. The same is already true for many Palestinians who want to visit their holy sites in Jerusalem and this will encourage Israelis to make it even worse. The Palestinians will be considered a threat. It means we are all failing as humans because we’re giving priority to some at the expense of others.

Mohammad Arafat

It isn’t a shocking decision since the U.S. administration signed a resolution in 1996 promising Israel to relocate its embassy to Jerusalem. Whenever an American president is elected, we wait for this decision to be applied on the ground. However, this step will, for sure, ignite an already inflamed area, since Jerusalem isn’t only important for Muslims, but for Christians as well. We consider Jerusalem a city for all; it will be a disaster if Trump allows Israel to be in charge.

Gaza protest of the US recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

Nedaa Al-Abadlah

Hearing the news that the United States will declare Jerusalem the capital of Israel feels like some stranger has assaulted me in my home. It hurts deep in the heart. No one knows what it feels like except those who were forced to leave their homes, memories and everything behind and forbidden to see them again. A country that call itself democratic, like the United States, has no right to give or declare something it does not own.

Haneen Sabah

As we hear the awful decision of President Trump to move the American embassy to Jerusalem and recognize it as the capital of Israel, we all feel shocked, angry and broken hearted. It’s like a huge hole has been blown through our chest. What about our right to return? What about our martyrs who sacrificed their souls to preserve Jerusalem as the Palestinian capital? I remember what my grandmother told me about Jerusalem, the holy place where all Muslims from the world come to pray. She and her brother visited every month from their small town, and she loved watching the children play in the large Al-Aqsa plaza, and seeing people gather in groups to read the Koran and share their knowledge. They’d would walk through the narrow streets and visit the old market, which is full of embroidered Palestinian clothing, oil paintings, and sweets such as kanafa and nabulsiya. I’ve never been able to visit that magical place, but she made it real to me. My grandmother’s soul left the world with the hope she would someday be able to return. It is time for our Arab brothers to stop cooperating with Israel and the United States, rising up with us to stop the theft of Jerusalem.

Hanin Elholy

I read an angry post from one of my friends; he was extremely indignant about what happened hours ago. I remember a poem I wrote after the Zionist attack on the tunnel dug by the freedom fighters. I couldn’t hold back my tears, because I felt I knew those men as if they were relatives. However, this time I felt nothing. Today was one of my best days in this miserable year and I just wanted my heart to be on cloud nine. But is that possible here? What will happen if I get angry and write a piece about the importance of taking action? Who cares? They (Israelis and Americans) have been preparing for this and working on it for years, and I believe that Trump’s decision is a merely the formality of a decision made a long time ago, without regard for us. My wish for the next year is for more actions, not words.

We Are Not Numbers

We Are Not Numbers pairs Palestinian youth in the occupied territories or refugee camps with published authors around the globe to help them build international bonds, hone their storytelling skills and share their narratives with the world. It is a project of the Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Monitor. Follow them on Twitter @WeAreNotNumbers

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One Response

  1. Citizen on December 8, 2017, 12:02 pm

    Nobody influential in US politics gives a crap about the Palestinian people.It’s such an obvious fact. AIPAC shekels rule & US main media is complicit.

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