Dallas rallies for Palestine

December 14, 2017

Maddie Fenn reports from Dallas on a large protest against Donald Trump's decision to move the U.S. embassy in Israel to occupied Jerusalem.

NEARLY 1,000 people gathered December 9 on the grassy knoll of Dealey Plaza in Dallas to protest Donald Trump's announcement three days earlier that the U.S. would move its embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to occupied Jerusalem--and to show their support for Jerusalem as rightful Palestinian land.

In just three days following Trump's announcement, hundreds of people came together to organize and carry out the successful rally and speak-out in defense of the Palestinian people's right to their land and livelihood.

Marginalized communities in the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex have also been under attack consistently since Trump's racist agenda rose to power. That's why it's so important that thousands of people overcame fears of local white supremacists, police violence and bigotry to show up in solidarity with Palestine--not just in Dallas, but across the country.

The Dallas Palestine Coalition plans to continue rallies throughout the North Texas area in support of Jerusalem as Palestine's rightful land and capital, including on December 16 in Fort Worth.

Protesters rally against Trump's Jerusalem declaration in Dallas, Texas
Protesters rally against Trump's Jerusalem declaration in Dallas, Texas (Desolation Simon | Capped Lens Media)

The December 9 rally speakers included local Muslim community leaders, long-term Palestinian justice organizers in the area and a member of the International Socialist Organization. Alia Salem, an organizer with the Dallas Palestine Coalition which organized the rally, saw it as an important step in renewing local solidarity efforts:

The Dallas Palestine Coalition is in a rebirth phase of its dormancy in activism for Palestine in North Texas. In the summer of 2017 we got to work rustling up interest from organizations and people that wanted to build a sustainable approach to impact-focused work, which plugs into existing movements nationally and internationally so that we might carry our local responsibility on the matter.

We see scattered actions that are passionately taking a piece of the work, so what better way to proceed than to bring those groups to the table together and create a network that leverages all the strengths and talents, working towards a common goal. Groups like Dallas Peace and Justice Center, Students for Justice in Palestine, In Solidarity, Muslim American Society, and the International Socialist Organization while mixing in unaffiliated activists have created a staging for a robust 2018 and beyond agenda for Pro-Palestinian activism.

The focuses of Direct Action & Politics, Education, Media and Bridge-Building make up the segments of our work that will be strategic in identifying the activities aimed at moving the needle towards a Palestine that is free. Free from occupation, free from oppression, free to return home, free to elect just leaders, free to move around their country.

THE JERUSALEM Embassy Act, mandating the embassy's move from Tel Aviv, was passed by Congress in 1995, but it included a provision allowing presidents to waive it in the interests of national security, which is what happened every six months under the Clinton, Bush and Obama administrations.

Donald Trump signed this same waiver in June, but publicly declared that he was still pursuing plans to move the embassy, which he has now solidified. So it's important to see that Trump's act is both a change in U.S. policy and a culmination of plans that have long been in place among both the U.S. government and the Israeli government.

Palestinians in Jerusalem have been under attack from soldiers of the Israeli government and neighboring settlers who have their own third-party security personnel. Home demolitions, displacement, street harassment and wrongful arrests are common in Jerusalem, and settlements continue to expand and colonize Palestinian space.

To move the capital of Israel to a city that is not only diverse in heritage and religion, but also home to many refugees, will continue to apply pressure to the Palestinian communities in an attempt to escalate and incite violence, allowing the state to further enforce their methods of ethnic cleansing, forced exile and human rights abuses.

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