YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – Around 100 pro-Palestinian protestors marched and carried signs, protesting the actions this week of Israeli forces on Palestinians living in Jerusalem.
The protesters say the Israeli government’s attacks and forced eviction of Palestinians from their homes in Jerusalem have been going on for far too long.
“For decades, people have been evicted from their homes. People have lived in their homes for decades and in just one day, two days, they have to leave, they have to be evicted. We’re here to raise awareness of that,” said Mohammad Yusuf.
They also want to change the discussion around Palestinian rights.
“I think that there’s this narrative going around that if you’re pro-Palestinian, you’re automatically anti-Semitic, and that’s absolutely not true. This is not about hating Jewish people or anything like that. This is about supporting Palestinians,” said Haneen Adi.
The protestors believe that standing up for the basic human rights of Palestinians shouldn’t be up for debate.
“It’s not very controversial, in fact, it’s actually very straightforward. These people have a right to their land and to their homes,” Adi said.
The protestors hope that the people of Youngstown hear their message and take time to learn more about the problems that Palestinians are facing in Jerusalem.
“Let’s hope that they see us, that they see us protesting and they say, ‘Hey, these people are out here, they’re here for a cause,’ and that will initiate them to go on their phones, Google Palestine or Israel and see what’s going on,” Yusuf said.
According to the Associated Press, Jerusalem has been the scene of violent confrontations between Jews and Arabs for 100 years and remains one of the most bitterly contested cities on earth.
The latest clashes began a month ago with an Israeli move to block some Palestinian gatherings at the beginning of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, already a time of heightened religious sensitivities. After those restrictions eased, tensions over a plan to evict dozens of Palestinians from an east Jerusalem neighborhood continued to fuel confrontations.
Israel views Jerusalem as its “unified, eternal” capital. It had captured east Jerusalem, which includes the Old City, in the 1967 Mideast war, along with the West Bank and Gaza. Palestinians want those territories for their future state, with east Jerusalem serving as their eventual capital. But Israel annexed the eastern part of the city in a move not recognized internationally.
The fate of east Jerusalem has been one of the thorniest issues in the peace process, which ground to a halt more than a decade ago.