Protesters gathered outside the US embassy in central London on Friday in solidarity with Palestinians who demonstrated in East Jerusalem, the West Bank and Gaza Strip.
It was one of several protests in cities across the world following Donald Trump’s decision on Wednesday to treat Palestinian city Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.
Protester Ahmed told Socialist Worker, “Donald Trump can’t give away something that doesn’t belong to him. Jerusalem has always been shared between Christians, Muslims and Jews. It should still be shared between the three people—it cannot just belong to one group”.
Thousands of Palestinians protested on Thursday and Friday in reaction to the speech. Trump gave legitimacy to Israel’s claim to rightfully own the city—and encouraged Israelis who want to grab even more Palestinian land.
Israel has occupied the western part of the city since it was split in 1948. It occupied the eastern half in 1967 and later annexed it.
Palestinians in Jerusalem have lived under a brutal and restrictive military occupation ever since.
Thousands of Palestinians protested at the border between Israel and Gaza. Other major protests took place in West Bank cities Ramallah, Jenin, Nablus, Tulkarem, Qalqilya, Jericho, Bethlehem, Hebron and Jerusalem itself.
Palestinians living inside Israel in the city Umm al-Fahm also protested.
Israeli soldiers responded with tear gas, rubber bullets and live ammunition. Humanitarian organisation Palestinian Red Crescent said it had treated some 300 people injured in the protests.
Israeli soldiers shot and killed at least two protesters in the Gaza Strip.
Solidarity protests also took place in other Middle East countries and beyond. Hundreds of people took to the streets in Egyptian capital Cairo, where they were confronted by riot police.
A reported 5,000 people protested near the Shatilla Palestinian refugee camp in Lebanese capital Beirut. Hundreds also protested in Jordan and Iraq. Outside the Middle East, there were protests in Afghanistan, Kashmir, Somalia, Malaysia and Indonesia.
In London at least 1,000 people joined the demonstration outside the embassy. Hundreds of people joined other protests around Britain including 400 in Manchester and 300 in Nottingham.
Speakers in London pointed to how Trump's speech had exposed the “peace process” between Israeli and the Palestinians as a shame
One speaker from the Association of the Palestinian Community in the UK said, “It has put the final nail in the coffin of the peace process.”
Another speaker from Palestine Forum in Britain, which called the protest, said, “History is repeating itself. 100 years ago Balfour gave Palestine away to the Zionists. This week Donald Trump gave away the capital of Palestine to the Zionist entity.”
He added, “There can be no peace until there is justice. True justice—the right to return to all of Palestine for all Palestinians.”
The protest was very loud, very young and very angry. Hundreds of people stayed to chant outside the embassy after the official protest was over.
People chanted “Down down USA” among other slogans in both English and Arabic.
One woman led chants against the US-backed Arab regimes who have betrayed the Palestinians.
Protester Qasim said, “Trump said in his speech it was the right thing to do. How can it be the right thing to do? Surely the right thing to do would be to help both sides find a peaceful solution. This doesn't help that.”
He added, “It doesn't help that Theresa May celebrated the Balfour declaration either. That means she's celebrating all the bloodshed and suffering that Palestinians have been through.”
Another protester Nora said, “I'm Palestinian so this is personal. It's always been hard for us but Trump has taken what little we have left and thrown it away.
“He's legitimised the occupation of Jerusalem”.
She added, “The support Palestine has from world leaders is very small. Look at the amount the US gives to Israel—it’s all about power.
“So we need to do all we can to show the Palestinians have support –that we don’t all think this is okay."