World, Middle East

Protesters in Europe, Africa decry US move on Jerusalem

Residents of The Hague, Brussels, Cape Town, Tunisia and Algeria condemn US recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital

08.12.2017
Protesters in Europe, Africa decry US move on Jerusalem People stage a protest against US President Donald Trump's announcement to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and plans to relocate its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, in front of the US Embassy in the Hague, Netherlands on December 8, 2017.

By Ayse Humeyra Atilgan

ISTANBUL

Protesters in parts of Europe took to the streets Friday to denounce U.S. President Donald Trump’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

Following Friday prayers, people in the Dutch city of Hague gathered outside the U.S. embassy and chanted anti-Israeli and pro-Palestinian slogans.

Members of Europe's Islamic community Die Islamische Gemeinschaft Milli Gorus (ICMG) and the Netherlands Islamic Federation held a demonstration outside the embassy building.

They carried Turkish and Palestinian flags and banners which read "Al-Quds [Jerusalem] is the capital of Palestine."

On Wednesday, Trump announced U.S. recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital as well as plans to relocate the U.S. embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

The controversial decisions angered Muslims throughout the world.

The protesters in The Hague said in a joint press statement that Trump's decision was "against political, diplomatic and moral values".

The statement said it was no surprise that Trump, who is "known for his Islamophobia, xenophobia, racist and populist discourse and marginalization" made such a decision.

The U.S. move was seen as an attempt to legitimize the Israeli occupation of Palestinian lands.

In the Belgian capital Brussels, the head of the Belgium Islamic Federation, Ekrem Seker, released a statement condemning the U.S. decision.

He said achieving peace in the region was impossible "by announcing imaginary capitals" but would only be possible "by bringing an end to violations of human rights, cruelty and attacks on civilians".

Referring to Israel's ongoing settlement policy, Seker said Trump's decision was "provocative".

He called on everyone "who respects international law" to rally against Trump's "invalid decision."

"Jerusalem, which is a sacred place for Muslims, Christians and Jews, should be kept away from all political plans."

People and NGOs in Africa also demonstrated against the U.S. plan.

Activist organization the Palestine Solidarity Campaign held a protest at St. George's Cathedral in Cape Town, South Africa.

A spokesperson for the organization, Terry Crawford, said Muslims and Christians came together at the cathedral to protest against Israel’s racist and discriminatory system.

They shouted slogans demanding a free Palestine.

One of the protesters, Anwah Nagia, said the latest U.S. move on Jerusalem "only serves the internal politics" and that no country would accept the U.S. decision.

Similar protests were also organized in the North African countries of Tunisia and Algeria, where people carried Palestinian flags and chanted anti-Israeli slogans.

Protesters urged the U.S. administration to reverse its decision and abide by relevant resolutions and laws. They carried banners saying "Al-Quds [Jerusalem] is ours".

Jerusalem remains at the heart of the Israel-Palestine conflict, with Palestinians hoping that East Jerusalem -- now occupied by Israel -- might eventually serve as the capital of a future Palestinian state.

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