Palestinian Journalist Urges Calm Amid Fury Over Trump’s Jerusalem Decision

A Palestinian protester burns tires during clashes with Israeli troops following protests against U.S. President Donald Trump's decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, in the West Bank city of Ramallah, Thursday, Dec. 7, 2017. (AP Photo/Nasser Nasser)
AP/Nasser Nasser

TEL AVIV – A Palestinian journalist has criticized the outcry from his brethren surrounding President Donald Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, saying their rage, while justified, is futile.

“What is all this panic, which is mostly Palestinian, about?” Bakr Awida asks in a column “Jerusalem and the Embassy – Do Not Despair” for the London-based Saudi daily Al-Sharq Al-Awsat.

Admitting that he was “swimming upstream” and against the current sentiment on the Palestinian street, Awida nevertheless reprimands Palestinian hyperbole, particularly the claim that Trump’s announcement “eliminates the Palestinian cause.”

The issue, according to Awida, could be summed up as one country “moving its flag from one building in Tel Aviv to another in Jerusalem.”

“This will not stop the struggle that has gone on for centuries,” he asserted.

Instead, he advised, Palestinians would do better to keep the channels of communication with the U.S. open and offer up alternative solutions.

“The Palestinian statesmen must fortify themselves with greater wisdom and perhaps also greater political acumen,” Awida wrote. “Instead of shouting, which won’t change a thing, the challenge must be met calmly. It is better to propose solutions and set out alternatives. For example, Washington can be invited to open an embassy in Ramallah and a consulate in Gaza, in order to emphasize its desire to continue its relationship with the Palestinians.”

Nevertheless, Awida was quick to point out that the “Arabs’ and Muslims’ shows of rage” was easily “understood and justified” even if he does not think it is the smartest way to react.

At the end of the day, Awida concluded, “the roots of Palestinian Jerusalem will remain in the hearts” of Palestinians no matter what.

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