As US Inaugurates New President, Palestinians Protest, Burn Posters of ‘Lunatic, Fascist’ Donald Trump
During Friday’s inauguration of Donald Trump as president of the United States, West Bank Arabs burned images of the new world leader, and said supporting the Jewish state was tantamount to backing ISIS in its aim to establish an Islamist caliphate, the non-governmental Palestinian news agency Ma’an reported on Sunday.
Participants in the demonstration — which the report said was disrupted by Israeli police trying to disperse the crowd — told Ma’an that they were sending a message to the incoming administration not to move the US Embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. A sign that they posted on the security barrier separating Israel from the Palestinian Authority (PA) — at the entrance to Bethlehem — where the protest was held, read: “Stop Trump… Jerusalem is the capital of Palestine.”
This protest was similar to ones that preceded Trump’s inauguration. On Thursday, a few hours before incoming White House press secretary Sean Spicer told journalists to “stay tuned” for the new administration’s decision about its proposed embassy move, Palestinians took to the streets of three West Bank cities to demonstrate.
According to Palestinian News Network, hundreds of flag-waving Palestinians held protests in Ramallah, Nablus and Hebron, where banners, in English, read: “Trump, take your racism away from the Holy City,” and in Arabic: “The whole world is moving forward but the Trump administration is moving backwards.”
Those demonstrations came about a week after PA President Mahmoud Abbas reportedly sent a letter to Trump, warning against such a move.
Jerusalem-based research organization Palestinian Media Watch reported that official PA media outlets have been awash with threats about the “bloodshed” that will ensue if Trump moves the embassy, as it signifies American recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of the Jewish state, which the Palestinians dispute.
In a video translated and posted by the Middle East Media Research Institute on Wednesday, Fatah Central Committee member Jibril Rajoub — head of the Palestinian Football Association and Palestine Olympic Committee — called the possible embassy relocation a “declaration of war” against the whole world. In an appearance on PA TV, Rajoub said, “We want the confrontation to be between this new fascist in the White House and the whole world – Christians as well as Muslims.” Referring to Trump as a “lunatic,” Rajoub asked: “Why does he think that he has the right to give [the Israelis] the keys to the Al-Aqsa Mosque and the Church of the Holy Sepulcher?!”
America’s incoming ambassador to Israel, David Friedman, stated on Sunday that he will be living in an apartment he owns in Jerusalem’s Talbiyeh neighborhood, and not in the ambassador’s official residence in Herzliya. A few hours later, as The Algemeiner reported, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer announced that the Trump administration has begun discussions on relocating the embassy — a move Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat applauded as “historic.”
“President Trump has proven that he is a true friend of the state of Israel and a leader who keeps his promises,” Barkat said in a statement on Sunday evening. “This… has sent a clear message to the world that the US recognizes Jerusalem as the indivisible capital of the state of Israel. We will provide any and all necessary assistance to the US administration to ensure that the embassy move is done seamlessly and efficiently.”