Following US President Donald Trump’s announcement in which he recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, hundreds of Palestinians gathered at the Damascus Gate plaza outside the Old City in protest against the move.
Palestinians see east Jerusalem as their future capital, and currently it serves as a central hub, mainly due the al-Aksa mosque, located in the Old City.
Protesters chanted: “Jerusalem [al-Quds] is Arab, Jerusalem is Palestinian,” “Trump, you will see - Palestine will be free” and “In blood and spirit, we will liberate Jerusalem.”
Rioters clashed with police, that every once in a while forcefully dispersed them from plaza.
The demonstrators expressed their disappointment from Trump’s decision, saying it was one-sided, and that the US president proved that he is on Israel’s side. Daud Abu-Libdeh, a political activist, told the Jerusalem Post
that Palestinians in east Jerusalem feel they were left out. “We were stupid for accepting the fact the US was the only party that was managing the conflict,” Abu Libdeh said, referring to the US's role of facilitating negotiations between Israelis and the Palestinians for the past 25 years.
“Today [we understand] there are new rules for this game. We need a new party to manage the conflict,” he said.
Abu Libdeh added that as he sees it, the declaration is the end of the two solution.
“The US administration pushes us, the Palestinian, into not believing anymore in a two-state solution. But it is not up to Trump to decide the future of east Jerusalem,” he said. “It is up to us - the residents - to decide upon our future.”
Besides demonstrations, residents of east Jerusalem held a general strike. Most shops, schools and universities remained close on Thursday as an act of protest.
When Abu Libdeh was asked when the protests will end, he said, “This is just a promo. Tomorrow it only will get bigger,” he said, and added that we might witness now the beginning of a new intidafa. However, police say that there are no changes in its deployment at the moment.
“Police units can and will respond if necessary to any incidents as we do on a regular basis,” a police spokesperson told the Post.
Three Palestinians were arrested. No injuries were reported.
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