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.
This 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.
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.
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.”
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.
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.
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