We asked our network of speaker alumni - Israelis and Palestinians who have come on tour to the UK with SNS - to give us their insight into Trump's decision. They provide a look at the feelings of the people on the ground. We will update this page going forward, as we get more reaction from individuals in the region.
Dima (Palestinian from the West Bank): "The decision taken by Trump on December 6th, has great obstacles to the Palestinians since it recognizes a full Israeli sovereignty over the East and West of the city of Jerusalem, in addition to confirming the death of the so-called two-state solution and any peace efforts. That will displace more Palestinians, increase the frequency of violence and, as a result, increase the number of victims. Where Trump's decision is a clear bias against one side, this decision is contrary to international law and has a clear policy of plundering land and liberties".
Dawoud (Palestinian from the West Bank): "It is the recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, not the plan to move the embassy, that will affect the city the most. It’s an important event, but there’s a lot of exaggeration when it comes to its effect. Recognizing Jerusalem as the Israeli capital is not in line with international law. Recognition will only come through the mutual agreement of two peoples destined to remain in Jerusalem; I do not see the Trump administration fitting into this equation anymore. For those of us working for a peaceful solution, this came as a slap across the face."
Eran (Israeli from Tel Aviv): "This is not a good day for those who seek peace in the Middle-East. President's Trump's remarks yesterday represent a unilateral move, which will destabilize the region, and furthermore deepen the sentiments of mistrust, hatred and fear, which will lead, as it always does, to more violence, suffering and pain. This one-sided declaration was done in the face of massive objection from Arab leaders and the Arab world. If it is peace we are after, we must create an honest dialogue between the sides, a dialogue based on trust and good-will. The declaration yesterday undermines this effort. With that being said, Trump has said he was delaying the decision on moving the embassy to Jerusalem. I hope that the US Embassy in Israel will move to West Jerusalem, on the same day that the US Embassy to Palestine will move to East Jerusalem. May we see peace in our time."
Meron (Israeli from Jerusalem): "One of the statements attributed to David Ben-Gurion, the first Prime Minister of the State of Israel, is: "Jerusalem exists without the State of Israel, but there is no State of Israel without Jerusalem." This quote enables us to understand what many Israelis feel today, in light of the American administration's intention to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. For many citizens in the State of Israel, this statement is not necessarily anti-Palestinian as it is very pro-Israeli. It is important to us that the world recognize this premise, which is so important to so many of us. However, many understand that we do not operate in a vacuum, and there are also people who are hurt by this decision and view it as an infringement of their legitimacy in this space between the river and the sea. In another reality, such a declaration should have been accompanied by an equal declaration in favor of the Palestinian people. We should strive for a solution in which both sides feel equal. I want to end my words on an optimistic note. Jerusalem is a mixed city in which Israeli and Palestinian residents live side by side, and no political decision, one way or the other, will change this reality. Therefore, as Jerusalemites, it is our responsibility to create a reality in which we live together, out of partnership and respect."
Michal (Israeli from Beersheva): "What Trump is doing is very cheap populism. It's simple to do something like this when you're so far away; damage people's lives and do things so far away when you can't see it, you can't feel it, and you have control on so many lives. I think that it's a disaster. We have so many problems anyway and the occupation is giving the Palestinians so much to fight against, and now Trump doing this action, is making it all worse, and it's just so frustrating that Trump and Bibi [Benjamin Netanyahu] aren't doing better things with their time. Trying to do peace instead of making people angry... we've done this already and it doesn't make Israelis or Palestinians feel safe. We are living here and we should decide these things. Not someone who doesn't know what is the meaning or consequence of doing terrible acts. If he has the understanding and he's doing it anyway, this is just cruel. There is some much that needs to be done. This is the last thing we need now."
Ibrahim (Palestinian from the West Bank): "As a Palestinian I believe Trump's decision was wrong. He consulted only one party (Israel) and forgot about us! Jerusalem is not only for Israel; we Palestinians have some rights to it [also]. We have the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, the Dome of the Rock for Muslims and Judaism has the Western Wall. I believe that Jerusalem should be for Arabs and Jews equally as they have their holy places inside it. Jerusalem is a great city and I believe its one of the unique cities in the world; Jerusalem is the only city that is connected to the three [Abrahamic] religions and that is so amazing in my view. As a result of Trump's decision, many Christmas parties are now cancelled; the Christmas tree in Bethlehem city was turned off. We want to celebrate Christmas - we do not want to mourn over Jerusalem! Trump believes that through his decision we will come closer to peace, but instead it is making the situation worse. Now my fear is that I wont be able to get into Jerusalem as its [designated] for Israelis [only] and I have no place in it! Maybe I'm over-anxious but the situation is not that good! Jerusalem should have been negotiated with the [leaders in Palestine and Israel] and should have gotten into a fair and just solution for both sides. Trump's decision was not pro-peace but pro-Israel. He did not think about the other side and did not even care. If his aim was to make peace through his decision, he could have been pro-solution, [in a way] that serves both sides."
Below is a post from the 0202 organisation, a network of Jerusalemite volunteers who translate Social Media posts into English, Hebrew and Arabic in order to "give readers a glimpse into life in Jerusalem as experienced by its diverse residents, by translating often unheard voices from the city’s different sectors: Palestinian East Jerusalem, Haredi Jerusalem, and West Jerusalem. Our mission is to clear the path to understanding the way “the other” sees Jerusalem."
Mahmoud & Eran - two speakers who have taken part in tours in Bradford - were interviewed on BBC Asian Network Reports regarding Trump's Jerusalem Decision. The programme wanted a perspective on the unfolding news about Jerusalem from individual Palestinian and Israeli peace activists, particularly to consider the importance of the city to citizens on both sides. Listen here, from 21:00 minutes in.
WikiTribune contacted SNS and asked to be put in touch with members of the Jerusalem diaspora to get their take on the situation. Dawoud, Meron & Eran (see above) added some additional thoughts for the article, which you can read here.