Letter to Canadians from Gaza: Why we are still protesting Trump’s decision and why we need your help

trump demos.jpg

Hundreds of Palestinians continue to demonstrate regularly against Trump’s decision to “give” Jerusalem to Israel. Our correspondent in Gaza explains why Palestinians keep on risking injury and even death 5 weeks after the Trump decision even though they know those demonstrations won’t change Israel’s actions. Read more.

ahmedalnaouq2This is the third in a series of letters to Canadians written by CTIP correspondent Ahmed Alnaouq (l.), a young Palestinian trapped in the nightmare of Gaza.

Canadian friends,

Palestinians in the occupied territories, the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, are continuing their weekly protests for the fifth week in a row, in response to the U.S. President Donald Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

Israeli forces have dispersed peaceful, flagwaving demonstrators of men, women and children with everything from tear gas, to rubber-coated steel bullets, to live ammunition.

Euro-Med Monitor, a Geneva based human rights organization, documented many cases in which Israeli soldiers injured or killed civilian protesters who pose no threat to the Israeli security. Israel does not want us protesting, say the protesters, but they can’t scare us away.

Since the 6th of December, 18 Palestinians have been killed by the Israeli army and 5,500 injured.

More than 25 times, Red Crescent ambulances and their crews were shot at as they tried to rescue the killed and injured.

red crescent

In the first 3 weeks after the Trump announcement, the Palestinian Red Crescent Society reported 7 attacks on its ambulances by Israeli forces in both Gaza and the West Bank. It is alleged that those continue.

Although we are fully aware of the dangers, Palestinians continue to go to places where they see Israeli soldiers, believing that despite its potentially fatal consequences, public protests are one of our few means to attract the world’s attention and encourage others to stand up against the Trump’s “declaration”.

“Protests might not change the current situation on the spot, but they can have great influence in shaping other peoples’ awareness,” Mohammed Shokry, a journalist writer says. “The Palestinians’ protests have succeeded in making the Jerusalem issue a universal one.”

Palestinian Rally

In Canada there were several sympathy protests against Trump’s decision

Hundreds of parallel demonstrations broke out in most Arab and many European countries in solidarity with the Palestinians and against Trump’s decision.

 “The UN Security Council denounces the use of violence, but they stand by while Israel kills us for protesting the ongoing Israeli annexation of our land and U.S. legitimization of it,” said Mohammed Seyam, a legal researcher. Earlier, in October, the Israeli Knesset agreed to annex the West Bank and East Jerusalem to Israel, a step that the Palestinians consider both insulting to them and a violation of international law.

Seyam added, “After 24 years of peace talks between the Palestinians and the Israelis, what have we received? Nothing. Palestinians have lost hope that a concrete, mutually beneficial peace agreement is possible—especially since the United States has made it official that it plays favorites.”

Immediately after Trump’s announcement, the two main Palestinian parties – Fateh and Hamas – called on Palestinians to protest.  However, regular protests in the West Bank and Gaza have continued, not at the call of any political party, but as a popular activity that is not organized and hard to control politically.

“We are aware that these protests will not change mindset of either Israel or the U.S. administration, but if we don’t take any action, then we are completely forgotten,” said Yaser, one of the protesters.


There were even a few brave sympathy demonstrators in Tel Aviv, Israel

Palestinians’ best hope is for intervention by the international community. “While the world is now focusing on other issues in Syria and Iran, the Palestinian cause will be forgotten if we don’t act.” Yaser added. “We need to see the world standing in solidarity with us, protesting for Palestinian human rights and showing us that they care… this is all what we need from them.”

Most Palestinians believe that only international pressure can force Israel to give us our rights. We have been resisting the Israeli takeover of our land, and now – even our capital city – for the last 70 years. We demonstrate so that Canadians (and others) know that we are still here. We need your help.

Yours, Ahmed Alnaouq


ED NOTE: after receiving this letter, CTIP also received this video of one of the recent demonstrations in Gaza. The reader can easily see the popular support for the chaotic and apparently uncoordinated demonstration.


Canada Talks Israel Palestine (CTIP) aims to promote a serious discussion in Canada about the complicated and emotional Israel/Palestine issue. We invite brief comments (under 100 words) from readers. No links to other websites/articles/YouTube, please. Both Zionist and non-Zionist opinion is welcome as long as it is expressed in a respectful way. Comments that include personal attacks on other commentators, foul language or are racist/antisemitic/Islamophobic will be deleted without warning. 

To learn more about what we do, contact us at membership.ctip@gmail.com.


  1. Dear Mr. Larson,

    Although you purport to have established a forum for the respectful discussion of the Palestinian and Israeli conflict, your website is more propaganda than legitimate analysis and exploration.

    As I previously wrote, your panel to discuss the issue of the status of Jerusalem is composed of only individuals who are antiIsrael, although you give the illusion of representing Jewish, Christian, and Muslim faith perspectives. I note that you did not post my last comment because it called you on your lack of objectivity and misrepresentations.

    Here your correspondent makes clear that Israel took over Palestinian land and its capital city over 70 years ago. Not only is that historically and archeologically inaccurate but it demonstrates that you question the legitimacy of Israel from 1948.

    This is not a fair and fulsome discussion. In my view, yours is a propaganda vehicle as perverse, ugly, odious, hateful, and defamatory as Goebbels’s, only dressed up in the language of human rights.

    Please immediately remove my name from your mailing list. it is a waste of my time to engage with groups or individuals who start from the position that Israel is not a legitimate country.
    For my part, I will endeavour to bring your website and its agenda to the Israeli authorities with a view to having you listed as a person not permitted entry into the country.

    1. Hey Mr. Halprin, Thank you for your comment.

      You are welcome to attend our event and express your point of view as long as you do it in a civilized manner. You might find it surprising that I have been to many events here in Ottawa in which ONLY a pro-zionist/pro-Israel point of view is expressed. I don’t take any particular umbrage at this. I attend, listen and often learn. If appropriate, and invited to do so, I sometimes politely comment or ask a question. I suggest you consider that approach for our meeting.

      Please note that I did not put your name on a mailing list, YOU subscribed. If you wish to no longer receive these emails, you have only to click on “unsubscribe”.

      As far as your last point – trying to get me banned from entering Israel – is concerned, I would be most disappointed if that were to happen. I have many Israeli and Palestinian friends. Israel recently published a list of 20 banned organizations, mostly because they are supporters of the BDS movement. My organization CTIP is not part of the BDS movement and has not promoted a boycott of Israel. If Israel were to ban EVERYBODY who expresses criticism of it, that would reflect rather poorly on Israel, don’t you think?

      1. I quite agree with Leigh Halprin’s comment, Mr. Larson, and what is quite obvious to many people around the world is that ordinary Gazans do not need protection from Israel, but rather from Hamas and the Palestinian Authority. In fact most Palestinians would have ordinary lives if they had not been kidnapped by the Hamas, PLA narrative of suicide as a means of achieving prosperity. Israel has no partner to negotiate with, it never has, it never will so long as there is no other point of view among Palestinians than hatred, murder, mayhem and sacrificing their children on the altar of antisemitism and the destruction of Israel. Golda Meir summed it up best when she said that there will be no peace until the Arabs love their children more than they hate Jews. This is still true 60 years later.

      2. Dear leelonghwa,
        Thank you for your comment to my message to the Canadians. I am just wondering where did you get the idea that Hamas kidnapped Gaza… Clearly I am not pro-Hamas or Fateh or any faction. I have many disagreements with them all, and my friends in Gaza know that, but my disagreements with them doesn’t change the fact that they were chosen by the majority of the Palestinians to lead them though elections.

        Everyone in the world might know how much the Gaza people are suffering; we are suffering a lot. When a Swiss friend asked me about Gaza, I defined it as a place in which its inhabitants’ basic rights are dreams that are hard to achieve. And those hard-to-get dreams/rights are caused by only one party–the only occupation in the 21st century of the world–Israel.

        You might disagree with me about this fact, as many kind fellow Canadians do. I would kindly invite you in come over to Gaza, you can put yourself in our shoes, see yourself who is the one kidnapping us. Your heart and mind and conscience will tell you then that the Palestinians are wronged.

        We will not be hostile to you or any other fellow Canadian… You will find us so friendly and kind and you will love us, as many other did.


  2. Thanks for sharing this letter from Gaza. Canadians rarely hear about the day-to-day lives of nearly 2 million Palestinians trapped under a military siege. Through Mr Ahmed Alnaouq’s letters, us Canadians are learning about their daily nightmare and will think about ways to help end it.

  3. Mr. Larson,

    First, your assumption that I am male is incorrect. I am female and my preference is Ms.

    Secondly, I did not claim that you sent me unauthorised correspondence as you implied. I only asked that I be unsubscribed.

    Third, I will not travel to your event: I live in Winnipeg and it would certainly be a waste of my time and money to attend given the clear agenda of your discussion. You have already reached a conclusion and what is to be presented is a sham: Confirmation theory and propaganda.
    The difference between a proZionist event and your website and forthcoming discussion is that the former does not pretend to be anything other than what it is.

    I formerly practised law, am a certified mediator, a trained facilitator for the University of Winnipeg’s Taking Action Against Hate, a human rights advocate, a former researcher and writer for the Manitoba Law Reform Commission, and have lectured for human rights organizations. I recognise obfuscation, tropes and canards when I see them.

    You say you are not a supporter of BDS. The true rational behind the BDS movement as stated by one of its original founders Omar Barghouti, is the delegitimization as a Jewish state. You recently endorsed this position when you posted a letter by Ahmed Alnaouq in which he stated that all of Israel had been taken from the “Palestinians.”

    Your comment that you would be disappointed if you were to be banned from Israel and have friends in Israel and “Palestine” is of no moment to me.

    Your comment that it would reflect poorly on Israel if everybody who criticised it were banned would be laughable if it did not demonstrate what appears to me to be either a shocking lack of insight into your actions or a lack of forthrightness.

    The raison d’etre of your website is to gather support for the “Palestinians” and you do so by attacking Israel. I do not suggest that you be banned from Israel because you criticise it. I suggest that you be banned because I read most of what you have written and posted as intentionally undermining Israel .

    1. Ms. Halprin, thank you for your comments. Please note that ONLY you can unsubscribe yourself from this column. Just click on “unsubscribe”.

      Of course I understand that we have different perspectives on the Israel/Palestine issue. I do not support Zionism.

      But my column is open to hearing from those who, like you, support Zionism, as long as they are respectful and succinct. That is also true of public meetings organized by Canada Talks Israel Palestine.

      Our experience here is Ottawa, however, is that pro-Zionists are not willing to engage in public discussions. I have approached Canadian Friends of Peace Now (a liberal Zionist organization) about organizing a public conference/debate/panel on this topic. So far, there has been no interest.

      In fact the Jewish Community Centre (where I am a member of several years) wont even allow CTIP posters for events to be put up.

      I am very open to any invitation from a pro-Zionist organization to have a serious discussion about the Israel/Palestine issue. If you would like to invite me to Winnipeg to meet, I would be pleased to consider your invitation.

      Thank you again for your thoughtful commentary.

      1. Hi Peter, the concensus among Jews in Ottawa who knows you is that you are not sincerely interested in engaging Jews is honest debate about Israel and Palestine.

        You are an ardent anti-Zionist and you are working hard to promote your agenda. Even the (very few) anti Zionist Jews here in Ottawa won’t show up to your events.
        I strongly believe that you are not antisemite, but your jew-courious tendency combined with your Israel bashing agenda is very concerning

      2. Hey Ahik, I have commented before about ad hominem attacks. You are right that I disagree with Zionism, of course. If you have disagreements with the substance of things you read in this column, please feel free to explain them. Attacking my motives or credentials is not very helpful. I have no other motive than to try to find the truth and speak it as I see it. I am happy when others explain where they disagree. (Well, not as happy as if they were to agree, but I accept disagreement as a fact of life.)

    2. “Intentionally undermining Israel”; not sure what to make of those words. There are 198(?) countries in the world and people have a right to criticize any country in the world and they do; it’s called the right to free speech. Why the focus on Israel? Because it’s almost seventy years and counting and the conflict rages on; taking a toll in human life; and no end in sight.

  4. Thank you Peter for this letter from Gaza. It’s difficult most of the time to understand how what happens wrt the Palestine/Israel situation affects Palestinians and Gazans. In order for us to formulate a balanced understanding we need the perspective of all sides…and you provide a forum for this. It is troubling when violence erupts however I get that feelings are intense and both sides can react (and over react) with violence…human nature at its worst.

    Please continue to provide the Gaza/Palestinian efforts to inform us of their thinking and responses…can’t say I will always agree however I always want to know.

    By the way, I found your response to Mr. Halprin’s comments quite balanced. While I do not agree with him I also value hearing his point of view.

  5. Criticism of Zionism is not anti-Semitism. Not every Jew in the world is a supporter of Zionism, that doesn’t make them antisemitic. The followers of no religion in the world can claim ownership of lands which gave birth to their religion. How does sharing a faith with the ancient Middle Eastern Jews give Jews all over the world a claim to kinship? It is akin to Indonesian Muslims claiming kinship with the Saudis.

    1. Sam,

      I was planning on unsubscribing, but I cannot in good conscience not respond to your comments, which I view as opinion, not fact. You note that no religion can claim ownership to lands, which give birth to their religion. That is precisely what Muslims claim with respect to Jerusalem and specifically the Temple Mount, as well as Mecca and Medina. With respect to the latter, are you aware that non-Muslims are not allowed entry? With respect to the former , “Palestinian Authority Chairman Abbas described Jews on the Temple Mount as “filth”: “The Al-Aqsa [Mosque] is ours… and they have no right to defile it with their filthy feet. We will not allow them to, and we will do everything in our power to protect Jerusalem.” [Official PA TV, Sept. 16, 2015

      The genetic relationship between Jews has been challenged by you. This is a very upsetting discussion for many Jews and those who are concerned about eugenics given the race pogroms and genocides perpetrated against Jews across millennium, the most notorious being the Holocaust and Hitler’s Final Solution which was intended to eradicate Jews everywhere.

      Nevertheless, studies have been conducted-very good, peer reviewed studies- that show genetic markers for Jews.. I urge you to read Studies Show Jews’ Genetic Similarity
      By NICHOLAS WADEJUNE 9, 2010 in the New York Times. So yes, there is demonstrable evidence of kinship.

      Studies have also shown a strong correlation between anti-Zionism and antisemitism. French President Emmanuel Macron calls anti-Zionism “a reinvention of anti-Semitism.” Many definitions of antisemitism include the denial of the Jewish people to a homeland and autonomy and the delegitimization of the State of Israel as that homeland.

      For my part, and I am an ardent Zionist, I favour a two state solution.

      1. The guidelines for comments require politeness, so I shall try and be as polite as possible. Yes, Muslims all over the world do regard Mecca and Medina and Jerusalem as their holy sites, but only for purpose of pilgrimage; Muslims from all over the world have no rights to claim land rights; even with Jerusalem, the claim is that of the Palestinians and not of the Indonesian Muslims. As for ethnicity one just has to open one’s eyes; the American blacks after 500 years still look African to me and I am sure that is not going to change for another two millennium; so how come European and Russian Jews don’t look the slightest middle eastern to anyone. I have actually met a Lithuanian Jewish woman, looked the same as other white Caucasian women, tell me Israel belongs to me; the Palestinians don’t belong there. I repeat again, the followers of no religion, Christian, Muslim or Jewish have any claim to land which gave birth to their religion; as for Jerusalem, the people who have a right to live there and claim it as theirs are Palestinian Muslims, Christians and Jews; not Jews from the four corners of the world.

      2. Finally Leigh even if one were to accept some minuscule DNA linkage(although I don’t); how does that give anyone the right to pack his bags and take a flight to Tel Aviv and that includes Ivanka. Incidentally I had an ancestry check done for ancient origins and it came back with six percent for Israel/Transjordan. Doubt if they will let me set foot there, whereas someone living in the Russian tundra would be welcome because he is Jewish; that of course is enough for a free pass. Don’t know how many times Netanyahu, of Polish parentage has claimed King David as his ancestor. In this enlightened 21st century most of the 7.5 billion people in the world find that difficult to believe. You may want to read a memo written by Edwin Samuel Motagu in Aug. 1917 to Lord Balfour, who said the very idea of a separate Jewish homeland was antisemitic.

  6. Mr. Larson: Our world would be a terrible place the day people stopped resisting injustice; it would mean the death of the human spirit. I marvel at the resilience of the Palestinians that despite the decades of suffering and humiliation their yearning for freedom remains as strong as ever.
    Please continue to enlighten our Canadian compatriots to see the other side which is ignored by the North American media.

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