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Rami Almeghari

Palestinians in Gaza react to Trump's Jerusalem move

Palestinians in Gaza have demonstrated against Trump's Jerusalem decision [AFP]

Date of publication: 19 December, 2017

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Gazans believe Palestinian leaders should look for alternative peace mediators, reports Rami Almeghari.
In an unprecedented move for a US administration, President Donald Trump stood in the White House - which 24 years ago hosted the signing of an outline peace deal between Palestinians and Israelis - and said that Jerusalem was the capital of the state of Israel.

Trump's declaration is inconsistent with the Oslo declaration of principles, which aimed to resolve the Palestinian-Israeli conflict on the basis of a two-state solution, recognising the occupied Palestinian territories, including East Jerusalem, as a future Palestinian state.

But over the past two decades, Palestinians have questioned Washington's claim to be a fair peace mediator, with consecutive American administrations failing to forge a peace based on international legitimacy - including UN Security Council resolution 242, which demands Israel withdraws from the occupied Palestinian territories.

With Trump's intention to move Washington's embassy from the city of Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, Palestinians believe their doubts over the fairness of the US as a peace mediator have been vindicated.

In the Gaza Strip, controlled by the Islamist Hamas movement, crowds of Palestinians - ordinary residents as well as representatives of political factions and civil society organisations, took to the streets, in protest at Trump's declaration.

"This is a declaration of a Crusader war against the holy Arab-Islamic city of Jerusalem, this is a rape of Palestinian national rights to Jerusalem," said Dr Asad Abu Sharekh, a Gaza-based political analyst.

"Muslim and Arab nations should immediately sever ties with the US. Arab regimes should open their borders for their own peoples to come here and help the Palestinian people in their struggle against the Israeli occupation."

Abu Sharekh's anger is shared by other Palestinians across the coastal territory.

Palestinians protested across the Gaza Strip [Anadolu]

"I am angry because of Arab nations' silence towards what is happening. Arab regimes have made Trump announce that, by means of their inaction and subordination to Washington. I would say to Trump, 'say whatever you want to say, Jerusalem remains an Arab-Islamic-Palestinian city and nothing will change this fact'," said Sahar Yaghy, a Palestinian mother among those protesting at the Unknown Soldier square in the heart of Gaza City.

Across the coastal enclave, north, south and centre, thousands of Gazans chanted slogans against the US president and his declaration. Some burned American and Israeli flags.

Gaza political factions called for an uprising, or intifada, against Israel. Ismail Haniyeh, the former Hamas leader, said the Oslo accords between Palestinians and Israelis were dead.

Haniyeh called for Palestinian unity and a convention of all Palestinian political bodies including the Palestinian National Council and the Legislative Council.

The Gaza-based Palestinian Legislative Council, which is dominated by Hamas, described Donald Trump's announcement as "a stark violation of international legitimacy resolutions", including those pertaining to Jerusalem.

"I believe that the Palestinian leadership should now start seeking international mediators other than the United States. I believe that Palestinians should now further depend on themselves," said Mokhaimar Abu Se'da, a Gaza-based university professor.

Consecutive US administrations have sponsored the Palestinian-Israeli "peace process", based on a two-state solution. But Washington has failed to apply any concrete pressure on Israel to accept a resolution.

During this time, Israel has been imposing "facts on the ground", most notable building tens of thousands of housing units in occupied East Jerusalem for Israeli settlers.

According to the Oslo Accords, the status of Jerusalem should be decided during negotiations between the two parties.

Rami Almeghari is a Palestinian freelance journalist living and working in Gaza. 

Follow him on Twitter: @writeralmeghari

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