Thousands of Arab-Palestinian citizens of Israel demonstrated on Friday, December 15, in the northern city of Sakhnin against US President Donald Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. Speakers at the rally which followed the protest march stressed that there will be no peace unless East Jerusalem becomes the capital of an independent Palestine state.
Demonstrators, some of whom came from as far away as the Negev, carried Palestinian flags and signs declaring that “Jerusalem and al-Aksa are a red line” as they made their way through the city streets to municiple square. Former Hadash MK, Mohammed Barakeh, head of the High Follow-Up Committee, the representative body of Arab citizens in Israel, called upon all Arab and Islamic countries to withdraw their ambassadors from Washington to protest Trump’s move.
Raja Za’atry, spokesperson for the Follow-Up Committee, quoted Barakeh as telling the crowd: “Jerusalem will not be alone. All the Palestinian people will defend her. The rights of the Palestinian people are not derived from the declarations of American imperialism… There will be no peace without East Jerusalem as the capital of the Palestinian state,” he said. “We won’t surrender to the threats of the rightist government,” Barakeh said, adding: “the criminals of the government are Netanyahu, Bennett and Lieberman.” Barakeh also condemned Saudi Arabia, which he said was a party to the American move.
East Jerusalem activist Mohammed Jadallah, who also spoke at the rally, alleged in his remarks that the police have turned the old city of Jerusalem into a “military base.” “But our spirit will prevail because we have the right and the mission to guard Jerusalem,” he said.