Palestinians gather at U.S. consulate to protest Trump decision on Jerusalem
People of all ages gathered Saturday and Sunday on the sidewalk outside a Toronto courthouse carrying Palestinian and Canadian flags.
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Hundreds of Palestinians and their supporters spent two days in Toronto loudly protesting a decision by U.S. President Donald Trump to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.
The president set off a global firestorm last week after announcing plans to move the American embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.
The city, holy to Muslims, Jews and Christians alike, is at the religious and political heart of the Israeli-Arab conflict and violent clashes have erupted across the Middle East, with Palestinian leaders reportedly calling for “three days of rage” in protest.
In Toronto, people of all ages gathered Saturday and Sunday on the sidewalk outside a courthouse on University Ave., across from the U.S. consulate.
“Jerusalem is the heart of Palestine, the heart of the Palestinian people,” said Rashad Saleh, with The Canadian Palestinian Council. Saleh spoke with the Star on Sunday, at the edge of a crowd of about 150 people, after a speech where he decried Trump and called on world leaders to condemn his actions.
“Without Jerusalem there is no Palestine, there is no Palestinians,” he said.
The crowd carried Palestinian and Canadian flags, held signs bearing the words “End the occupation,” and “Trump Embassy in Jerusalem . . . stupid idea” and chanted “Free, free, Palestine,” and “The people united will never be defeated.”
Organizers also declared solidarity with Canada’s Indigenous peoples, chanting “From Turtle Island to Palestine, occupation is a crime.”
Clutching a Palestinian flag and bundled up against the cold, Dana Shanti said she wanted to spread a message of peace.
“We are here to stand in unity, so we can spread the right message, not what the media is saying about us,” said Shanti, 15, standing with family and friends from Mississauga.
“We are just like everybody else. We are just here to spread peace to be honest,” said Shanti, who hopes the protest will motivate people to learn about the conflict.
“Some of them don’t even know what Palestine is. Nobody really mentions us in the news much, unless Donald Trump has something to do with us.”
Her neighbour, Abdalla Hammouda, 27, said they planned to stay all day, to make sure their voices are heard.
“Jerusalem will always be a part of Palestine. We are always going to be here yelling, screaming, telling people that Jerusalem is our home. That’s it.”
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