Unfurling a 20-foot banner that read “Hands off Jerusalem,” students of Cal State Long Beach swiftly responded to President Donald Trump’s recent announcement to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.
In peaceful protest, approximately 20 students gathered at Speaker’s Platform Tuesday to voice their support for the people of Palestine.
In an attempt by the United Nations in 1947 to quell rising tensions between Arabs and Jewish people in Palestine, a plan to divide Palestine into two independent countries was attempted by the United Nations. Seizing the opportunity, Israeli forces went beyond the U.N. designated border, leading to their occupation of Jerusalem, where the true location of the capital has been disputed ever since.
As students gathered to voice support and to provide those passing by with information on the ongoing conflict between Palestine and Israel, they held signs that read “Free Palestine!” and chanted “From Palestine to Mexico, all the walls have got to go.”
“The story of Palestine is sometimes lost in history or often tinted with an Israeli-centric description of history,” Yasmeen Azam, a senior international studies major said. “It’s a story of power.”
Organized by a number of students with no formal announcement, the event was held not to attract a large crowd but to inform passers by of the conflict.
A few people passing by disagreed with the activists support of Palestine, with one student shouting “Jerusalem belongs to Israel, learn your history,” from across the field. However, the event remained civil.
Student activists said they were concerned by students not educating themselves on the history of Jerusalem.
“Just be aware of the history of the situation as well as the historical context of Palestine,” Leen Almahdi, a sophomore nutrition and dietetics major said. “[Palestine’s] struggle for liberation is directly intertwined with other nations liberation struggles.”
With the United States’ influence in world politics, Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital could mean dire consequences for the Palestinian people.
“It legitimizes the idea that their will never be a two-state solution,” said Almahdi. “It completely disregards the Palestinian people and their narrative.”
Members of campus clubs were present to aid the student organizers including the recent addition to campus, the Youth Democratic Socialists of America, and La Raza. Asia Gonzalez, a junior political science major and member of La Raza, was there in support of Palestine.
“Our ideologies are against imperialism and colonization,” Gonzalez said. “So, of course we’re here in support of the Palestinian people.”