Palestinian Students and Teachers Are Skipping School Today to Protest Trump
They’re not just “playing hooky.”
One day after US President Donald Trump announced the United States would recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, Palestinian students and teachers went on strike.
On Thursday, the Palestinian Education Ministry canceled school and called on students and teachers to protest.
Other Palestinian groups had already called for a general strike Wednesday, Al Arabiya and Reuters report.
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The protests coincided with an outbreak of violence over the announcement in the contested West Bank. BBC reports that at least 16 people have already been injured in clashes there, the majority of whom were injured by tear gas and rubber bullets fired by Israeli security forces.
The capital, the soul of #Palestine is #Jerusalem. Now from there the Palestinians protest against Trump's decision #JerusalemIsTheCapitalofPalestine#HandsOffJerusalem#FreePalestinepic.twitter.com/Nli7ymf96s— Pal_st (@Stefaniafodd) December 7, 2017
Trump’s announcement Wednesday led to widespread speculation that violence in the Middle East could increase, with Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan saying it could “[throw] the region into a ring of fire.”
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Decades of conflict between Israelis and Palestinians has led to thousands of civilian casualties. Israelis and Palestinians have both claimed the city of Jerusalem, but Israel took control of the city decades ago; the international community has traditionally not recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. A wall now separates Israeli-controlled East Jerusalem from the West Bank.
According to the left-leaning Israeli magazine Haaretz, the construction of that wall in 2000 led to a drastic increase in poverty in East Jerusalem — and it’s estimated that nearly 90% of children in East Jerusalem live below the poverty line.
In that time, human development in the West Bank has stalled, with real GDP per capita at the same level it was in 1999, according to the United Nations. One in four Palestinian youth are unemployed in the West Bank and one in two Palestinians living in Gaza do not have a job.
Responding to Trump’s decision, Jordan's King Abdullah warned that it could have “dangerous repercussions on the stability and security of the region” and “could fuel terrorism.”
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas called for the United States to relinquish its role as mediator in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.