14 arrested, Palestinian flags outside US embassy ceremony
Hundreds of Arabs, Jews protest opening of US Embassy in Jerusalem; 14 arrested in confrontation with police; MK Zahalka: 'Cowboy Trump dead-checked peace process'; protesters chant 'Allahu akbar,' 'We will sacrifice our lives for the Al Aqsa Mosque.'
Police arrested 14 protesters during the demonstration—held at the capital's Arnona neighborhood—who were said to be bluntly disrupting the peace, confronting cops and disobeying orders.
While police authorized the protest, at a certain stage Palestinian flags were hoisted and slogans such as "Allahu akbar," "In blood and fire we shall redeem Palestine," "We will sacrifice our lives for the Al Aqsa Mosque" and "Gazan martyrs are heroes" began to be chanted.
Police noted the protest's goal was to "create a deliberate provocation and foment discord." Once the inciting chants died down, police noted, the demonstration carried on as planned.
The rally was organized by the High Follow-Up Committee for Arab Citizens of Israel. Arab MKs—Jamal Zahalka, Ahmad Tibi and Yousef Jabareen—as well as the Committee's head and himself a former lawmaker Mohammad Barakeh were forcefully pushed back by police officers present on the scene.
MK Zahalka, who is also the chairman of the Joint List's parliamentary group, said, "Transferring the embassy is a dangerous provocation, a hostile move towards the Palestinian people and their just rights and a blatant violation of United Nations resolutions."
"Starting today, the United States can no longer claim to be an impartial, fair mediator and the embassy's move is a public statement that it stands to the side of the Israeli occupation and is an avowed enemy of the Palestinian people," Zahalka maintained.
"Al Quds is the capital of Palestine," the lawmaker declared, "and anyone who disavows that and tries to enforce an occupation on (Jerusalem) is pouring oil on the flames of bloodshed."
Zahalka added that "(US President Donald) Trump is a provocateur who acts as a Wild West cowboy. His first and only step on the Palestinian issue is transferring the embassy on Nakba Day, while provoking the Palestinian people and their feelings."
"Trump is dead-checking the peace process while colluding with the enemy of peace Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu," he concluded.
High Follow-Up Committee Chairman Barakeh added his own statement, saying, "We will continue our struggle. Despite having authorization to protest, police used harsh violence."
"As if what's happening in Gaza was not enough, they went after us as well. We'll convene for an urgent session within the next 24 hours and make some decisions," he vowed.