New Yorkers flocked to Times Square on Friday night to protest Donald Trump’s recent controversial declaration that the US will recognize Jerusalem as being Israel’s capital city.
Hundreds of people gathered on the sidewalks between 41st and 42nd streets and Seventh Avenue for the evening of pro-Palestinian protests, speaking out about the decision Trump revealed on Wednesday.
‘The whole world knows that Jerusalem is divided. Some part is for Israelis and the other part is Palestinian. So I can’t all of the sudden come and say, ‘Okay, I’m going to give New York to so and so,’ pro-Palestinian supporter Amal Al-Shrouf told 4 New York.
Hundreds of pro-Palestinian protesters gathered in Times Square on Friday night in response to Donald Trump’s revelation that the US will recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital city
Jerusalem’s status has long been at the center of the religious and political Israeli-Arab conflict. Home to Muslim, Jewish and Christian holy places, the city figures greatly in the competing national narratives of Israelis and Palestinians, with both sides claiming the city as their capital.
Trump’s decision to move the US Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem has been seen by some as reflecting a pro-Israel bias. Previous US policy has been that America would not declare Jerusalem the capital of Israel until an Israeli-Palestinian peace deal was agreed to.
Palestinian native Sayel Kayed, who spearheads the New Jersey chapter of American Muslims for Palestine, told NorthJersey.com that Trump’s call was a ‘slap in the face’ to all the Muslims who have been discriminated against in the holy city.
‘This is a move to ethnically cleanse the Palestine area even more,’ Kayed noted.
The pro-Palestinian protesters were met by a number of pro-Israeli counter-protestors
The Times Square pro-Palestinian protesters faced off against a smaller number of pro-Israeli counter-protesters on Friday night, with the two groups clashing at various points on the street.
‘I believe in a shared state and they want the whole thing for themselves,’ pro-Israeli counter-protester Dennis Mitchell told 4 New York.
According to reports, there was some pushing and shoving between the protesters and counter-protesters and at least one person was detained by the police. It was unclear, however, if the person was arrested at the time.
The Times Square protests — one of many held around the world — immediately followed news of the deadly clashes between Palestinians and Israeli security forces in and around Jerusalem in the two days since Trump’s announcement.
Trump’s decision has been seen by some as showing a pro-Israel bias. Protesters said that the decision was a ‘slap in the face’ to Muslims who’ve been discriminated against in Jerusalem
On Friday, the Palestinian Authority said a 30-year-old Palestinian man was shot and killed in eastern Gaza, while more than 300 were injured along the West Bank, Gaza and Jerusalem. Israeli airstrikes against Hamas targets also left a 54-year-old Palestinian man dead in Gaza, CNN reported.
World leaders have critiqued Trump’s decision, among them Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, British Prime Minister Theresa May, French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel.
‘You’re seeing unrest not only in the US but all over the world,’ Omar Awad, president of the Islamic Center of Passaic County, New Jersey, told NorthJersey.com.