Jerusalem embassy announcement prompts protests downtown

Protests over Jerusalem in Indy (WISH Photo)

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Just days after President Trump announced his intention to move the U.S. embassy in Israel to Jerusalem from Tel Aviv, some Hoosiers are taking to the streets to express outrage.

President Trump said the capital of Israel is Jerusalem and that has enraged Palestinians, who view Jerusalem as their capital.

“It’s something that put me at unease,” said Basel Maarouf, a graduate student at Butler, whose family is from the Palestinian territory.   

Protests have happened around the world, including downtown Indianapolis.

“It’s to spread the message pretty much. To let people know like we need a voice,” said Ramzi Maarouf, who is a freshman at IUPUI and Basel’s brother.

Jerusalem has deep religious roots in both Judaism and Islam.

“What we want to do is all have equal citizenship and be treated as equal human beings,” said Umay Mahmohammad, a senior at IUPUI who organized the protest. She said there’s unequal treatment of Palestinians in Israel and fears the president’s decision could make it harder to reach peace in the Middle East.    

Trump argues it could actually bring about peace more quickly.

A tightknit community of Palestinians in central Indiana are thinking about relatives back in the Middle East.

“My family is like out in the streets in the West Bank but they’re also in fear of their lives,” said Mahmohammad.

So they marched to the state capitol. People of all backgrounds around central indiana and of different religions.

“Our vision for this land for Jews, Muslims and Christians for Palestinians and Israelis is for peace, justice, human rights and liberation for all,” said Malkah Bird, who is with the organization Jewish Voice for Peace.  

They want their voices heard, hoping that peace will come soon enough more than 6,000 miles from Indianapolis.  

President Trump did say it would take a couple years for the move to take effect.

A chief negotiator from the Palestinian Liberation Organization said he believes President Trump may have actually strengthened the forces of extremists in the Middle East, something the Trump administration has vehemently disagreed with.