(AhlulBayt News Agency) - Hundreds of people have held a demonstration in New York to condemn US President Donald Trump's decision to recognize Jerusalem al-Quds as the capital of Israel.
The protesters descended on Times Square on Friday night while chanting, "From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free.”
The demonstrators, who filled the sidewalks of Seventh Avenue, between 41st and 42nd streets, waved Palestinian flags or held up signs proclaiming, “Free free Palestine” and “End the Occupation."
In a speech at the White House on Wednesday, Trump officially declared Jerusalem al-Quds as Israel's capital, saying his administration would also begin a process of moving the American embassy in Tel Aviv to the holy city, which is expected to take years.
Trump also said that Vice President Mike Pence will travel to the Middle East in the coming days “to reaffirm our commitment to work with partners throughout the Middle East to defeat radicalism.”
The Trump declaration was a major shift by Washington that overturns decades of US foreign policy. Trump's decision was mostly aimed at pleasing his main supporters - Republican conservatives and evangelical Christian Zionists who comprise an important share of his voter base.
Following the announcement, massive protests against the United States broke out across the Muslim world, and even in many Western cities.
“The whole world knows that Jerusalem [al-Quds] is divided. Some part is for Israelis and the other part is Palestinian. So I can’t all of the sudden come and say, ‘Okay, I’m going to give New York to so and so,” Amal Al-Shrouf, a protester at Time Square, said.
“You’re seeing unrest not only in the US but all over the world,” said Omar Awad, president of the Islamic Center of Passaic County.
Sayel Kayed, who heads the New Jersey chapter of American Muslims for Palestine, described Trump's decision as a “slap in the face” for Muslims who face discrimination in Jerusalem al-Quds.
“This is a move to ethnically cleanse the Palestine area even more,” he said.
East Jerusalem al-Quds was occupied in 1967 and Israel later annexed it despite international condemnations. The occupied city's final status is one of the thorniest issues in the stalemated talks between the Palestinian Authority and Tel Aviv.
Claiming all of al-Quds as its "eternal and indivisible" capital, Israel annexed the eastern part, where a number of sites sacred to Islam, Christianity, and Judaism, are located, following the 1967 Six-Day War.
The annexation is in violation of United Nations Security Council Resolution 242 and has never been recognized by the international community.