Palestinians in Jerusalem: Trump’s move is no surprise

Round-up of views from the streets of East Jerusalem addressing US president’s highly controversial announcement.

Vox pop Jerusalem Shahd Yassin
Vox pop Jerusalem Shahd Yassin [Daylife]

Occupied East Jerusalem – No shock, no surprise and no complacency.

That seemed to be the mood on the streets of East Jerusalem on Wednesday, hours in advance of President Donald Trump’s announcement to recognise Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, and unveil a plan to move the US embassy to the city.

Read why the status of Jerusalem is one of the main sticking points in efforts to resolve the Palestinian-Israeli conflict here.

In the bustling Salah Eddin and Az-Zahra streets in the centre of East Jerusalem, Palestinians went about their business as usual.

Speaking to Al Jazeera, many said they had not taken aback by Trump’s highly controversial plan. They said they felt their fate and future were being decided by foreign powers, while others blamed the Palestinian Authority (PA) for the current state of affairs.

Here, we have gathered some views from the streets of East Jerusalem.

Thaer Mitwali, a 30-year-old film student

[Ibrahim Husseini/Al Jazeera]
[Ibrahim Husseini/Al Jazeera]

Of course, I am not surprised. What does Jerusalem mean to the PA? They are not supporting Jerusalem financially, culturally and in the education sector.

The problem is the neglect from the politicians. For them, Ramallah is the capital.

Rania Elias, director of Yabous Cultural Centre

[Ibrahim Husseini/Al Jazeera]
[Ibrahim Husseini/Al Jazeera]

Honestly, I am surprised to see anyone being shocked by the position of the US, which was never a mediator in any peace process. It has always been a party in the conflict here, and in the Arab region, and now that has become clear to those who were blind about America’s role.

The Palestinian leaders at this stage must go forward with the unity process, stop all dealings with the Americans and end all forms of negotiations [with Israel].

The only thing that would strengthen us is to resist in order to end the occupation. We have lost hope in the Arab world, starting with the position of Saudi Arabia. We have to look for other countries like Russia and China.

Imad Muna, 50, bookstore and cafe owner

[Ibrahim Husseini/Al Jazeera]
[Ibrahim Husseini/Al Jazeera]

Trump may declare West Jerusalem as capital of Israel …This won’t be upsetting. But if he declares Jerusalem in its entirety as the capital of Israel, then we will have a problem with the US administration.

If the US recognised West Jerusalem as the capital of the Jewish state and in return, East Jerusalem is [declared] the capital of a Palestinian state … so let it be. But anything other than this, will spell out a problem and I believe the Palestinian street and the Palestinian government must react to this.

Husam Ghosheh, 28, works in theatre


The US is no longer a mediator … it has been transformed into a foe.

The least that can be done is to protest in front of US embassies around the world and in the Arab and Islamic countries that support the just Palestinian cause, and to engage in popular action on all levels.

Shahd Yasin, 28, project coordinator at Ishtar Theatre

[Ibrahim Husseini/Al Jazeera]
[Ibrahim Husseini/Al Jazeera]

No one can be surprised by the US policy. Trump has found himself in a place where he has to appease the Zionist lobby, so I think he feels he is in need to offer them something big.

Personally, I am not reacting a lot as I don’t think this will have a big effect. I mean, what will change?

Let the Americans declare what they want. As far as I am concerned, Jerusalem is the capital of Palestine and belongs to us.

Despite all of Israel’s attempts to Judaize the city, including giving Hebrew names to streets, they will realise in the end that nothing can change the Arab and Palestinian identity of this city, nor affect the awareness of its people.

I blame, of course, the PA because it is the party that conceded and made us look that weak all the time, but I don’t think something like this could have been conceived without the agreement of Saudi Arabia and Egypt.

I do not know what the PA can do. I do not see it as an influencing factor as they are the weakest party.

Source: Al Jazeera