On the night of Dec. 16 thousands of Israeli citizens hit the streets to protest a bill that they say protects Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu from investigation in two separate corruption probes. Corruption was on the agenda, but when asked about U.S. President Donald Trump’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as the “undivided” Israeli capital many protesters expressed concern about the security of Israeli citizens in the holy city.
Israeli citizen Mira is an Italian-origin resident of Jerusalem who has been living the city for more than 40 years.
“Trump’s declaration is very, very dangerous. Four Palestinians were killed yesterday. We have already had three intifadas here and I don’t want a fourth intifada. I consider myself a survivor of intifadas. I lived in Jerusalem through all those years. It was very dangerous,” she said, recalling a bombing in a nearby cafe and a bus attack during those years.
“If we want peace, I don’t think peace is achievable without a two state solution. I don’t have any problem if East Jerusalem is the capital of Palestinian state. There can be no single united Jerusalem. We have already have two Jerusalems in east and west,” Mira said.
Emillia Perroni was also angry with Trump’s “irresponsible” decision, saying the U.S. president “concealed the right of other people’s existence here.”
“He may cause riots, intifadas. His rhetorical affirmation is more dangerous than useful,” said her husband Ariel.
Another woman protester, Sharon, said Trump was “very unwise in the way he presented his views.”
“Jerusalem is the most sensitive issue. In all negotiations in the past they always tried to leave Jerusalem until the end. In his speech, Trump did not say ‘West Jerusalem.’ If he had done, it would perhaps have caused less of a reaction and concern in the Arab world,” Sharon said.
“This does not help the state of Israel at all and it does not help negotiations. Now no one on the Arab side wants the Americans to be involved because they think the U.S. is one-sided, biased, and unfair,” she added.
“Jews in the U.S. and the state of Israel have a very problematic relationship. Jewish people in America are much more liberal than the government here. They want a solution and they want to end this conflict. But we are not sure that our prime minister and his party really want an end to the conflict. Israel does not even have an internationally accepted border. We should first set borders. [The Palestinians] should have a state. They deserve their own state and we should have our own state. We could live together fine. A better solution is to internationalize the old city,” Sharon said