Sunday, Jewish settlers marched in celebration around East Jerusalem alongside Israeli police protection. The march signifies the Israeli annexation of Jerusalem in 1967, consistently causing unrest for the city’s Palestinian population.
In recent years, those participating in the event left a number of Palestine businesses in ruins provoking counter protests, immediately suppressed by the city’s police. The day is seemingly restricted to local Palestinians, who are barred from entering the streets leading up to the gates of the Old City.
One Palestinian activist, Osama Barham argues as he clutched the city’s outer gates, that his community “lives with a hundred sticks raining down [their] heads.” For Barham, the December announcement by U.S. President Donald J. Trump to move the nation’s embassy from Tel Aviv does not come as a shock.
He told reporters that the “U.S. embassy move is not what is important,” in the conversation of Palestinians living in Jerusalem. Rather, Barham suggests that “what is much more dangerous to us than an embassy move is our reality: the onslaught of the Judaisation of the city, the Israelification of our society, the exile of Palestinian residents, the demolishment of Palestinian homes and the raiding of the Al-Aqsa compound by settlers.”
Al-Aqsa, the most holy mosque in Jerusalem, was raided by settlers where they raised the Israeli flag and prayed. A dispute occurred between settlers and Palestinians outside of the mosque, causing a small amount of arrests.
Despite the ongoing struggle, Palestinians believe their will cannot be changed by the new embassy in the city. A mother observing the marches remarked that “Jerusalem is the heart of the Palestinian cause, and every Palestinian who lives here feels its significance in their very bones.”
Ivanka Trump, alongside her husband and presidential advisor Jared Kushner, attended the official opening of the embassy and a gala hosted by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. An invitation was extended to foreigners from around the globe, but welcomed European ambassadors boycotted the event.
Head of the Palestinian orphanage association Afaf al- Dajani stated that she, “[doesn’t] understand why the Arab world is silent about all of this and are watching these events as if it is a movie in a cinema.” A number of Palestinians condemn the “Arab silence” that plagues efforts to take the city back from Israeli rule.
The historical six-day war 50 years prior occupied the city from Palestinians. Today, the city remains populated with Jewish settlers established by American foreign affairs. The commencement of the new embassy in Jerusalem could be a historic step for permanent occupation of the Old City.
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