Hundreds of Milwaukee residents rallied at O’Donnell Park on May 14, protesting the opening of the United States Embassy in Jerusalem and the kiIIings in Gaza of Palestinian civilians who marched in a nonviolent protest.
The Milwaukee protesters marched around the downtown area, holding signs and chanted slogans that drew comparisons between Israel and apartheid South Africa, the Civil Rights marches in America that were met with violence, and the condition of the Palestinians in Gaza being like European concentration camps from World War II.
A collection of groups, including the U.S. Palestinian Community Network, Jewish Voice for Peace, Palestinian Christian Association, American Muslims for Palestine, Friends of Palestine, and other associations sponsored the rally.
Media outlets from around the world televised the embassy opening with Prime Minister of Israel, Benjamin Netanyahu, sitting next to President Trump’s daughter Ivanka and her husband, Jared Kushner. Kushner’s father founded the largest illegal Israeli colonialist settlement in the Palestinian West Bank.
Split screen images broadcast the celebratory festivities in Jerusalem, contrasted with the strife a short distance away in Gaza. Palestinian protesters were shown holding keys to their ancestral homes, now occupied by European, American, and Russian Jews. The area is considered the world’s largest open air prison, where Israel has strictly controlled the movement and resources of Palestinian refugees for decades.
While the embassy delegation talked of a new era for peace, nearly 60 unarmed protesters were shot dead by Israeli military snipers. The body count included a dozen children. More than 2,000 others were injured, and many remain in critical condition.
Leaders from around the world were swift in their condemnation of Israel’s actions, and Donald Trump’s provocation with the embassy’s relocation. The White House and Israel returned a condemnation of the Palestinian protestors, continuing a policy of blaming the victims.
Palestinians called their protest “The Great Return March,” with families going out every day for weeks to protest the 70th anniversary of the Nakba, or “catastrophe.” The creation of the Jewish State lead to the dispossession of Palestinians, expelling 70% of the people in Gaza from cities and towns in what is now Israel, to make room for European Jews. The Palestinians in Gaza are trying to bring world attention to their forgotten plight, and many were kiIIed by Israeli soldiers while expressing their peaceful right of expression.
Most Gaza schools, hospitals, and residential buildings sit in ruins, with no ability to rebuild. Israel has refused to allow construction materials needed for repairs into the area, which continues to suffer under decades of regular bombardment. Gaza has one of the heaviest population densities in the world with 1.7 million people, lack of access to clean water, and desperate poverty.
It was estimated in 2014 that the number of Palestinians in Israel, the Occupied Gaza Strip, Occupied East Jerusalem, and the Occupied West Bank was more than 5.3 million, exceeding the Jewish population of 5.2 million. According to the United Nations, an additional 1.5 million Palestinian refugees live in camps in countries around the area, with about 4 million Palestinian refugees in neighboring countries but outside of refugee camps.
Prime Minister Netanyahu, who represents the most right wing political party in Israel, welcomed two of the most racist pastors in America, hand picked by President Trump. Robert Jeffress, pastor of the First Baptist Dallas megachurch, gave the benediction for the United States Embassy in Jerusalem. Jeffress has previously condemned Jews among many others, and his prayer to Jews ended with “in the spirit of Jesus Our Lord. Amen.”
Christian radicals like Trump believe it is their duty to insure that Jews are brought from around the world to live in Israel, which would trigger their Messiah to return in the Second Coming at the End of Times. Jews would then be given the choice of converting to an American version of Christianity or face Armageddon with the rest of the world.
What the foreign policy decisions by Trump shows the world is that the United States can never be regarded as an honest broker in the region. Israeli and Christian extremists have pushed an agenda that guarantees a one state solution will be the only option.
With a one state solution as the only option, Israel will need to decide if it will evolve into a democracy for all of its citizens, including the Palestinian Christians and Muslims, or if it will continue as an apartheid state.
In the meantime, the suffering of the Palestinian people has gone unresolved for 70 years, and their path to gain freedom and justice remains blocked only by the United States and the powerful Israeli lobby. The world overwhelmingly sympathizes with the plight of the Palestinians and the injustice they have suffered.
Wisconsin Muslim Journal