Dear Ramallah Family Member,

The American Federation of Ramallah, Palestine (AFRP) stands firmly against President Donald Trump’s decision to recognize the occupied city of Jerusalem as the official capital of Israel in contravention of well-established international law for over 65 years and on the heels of U.N. Resolution 2334 in December 2016 declaring that Israel must cease its illegal settlement building throughout the Palestinian Territories, including in Jerusalem.

President Trump upended a 23-year tradition of American presidents signing a waiver that delays plans to move the US embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. Every six months, sitting US presidents signed this waiver out of regard for the consequences of making such a drastic move. Both Palestinians and Israelis view Jerusalem as their capital, and Trump’s recognition of the holy city as Israel’s capital is seen as flagrant contempt for Palestinians in the decades long conflict.

Under the 1947 U.N. Partition Plan, Jerusalem was meant to be internationally governed given its importance to Christianity, Judaism and Islam.  But in 1948, in violation of the U.N. partition, Zionists seized the western part of Jerusalem.  Since then, and in the reaffirmation of Israel’s military dominance in 1967, Jerusalem and its Palestinian residents have been subjected to Israel’s inhumane military occupation and illegal settlement expansion. The annexation of East Jerusalem has never been formally recognized by the international community. The AFRP and its over 40,000 members in the business, medical and legal communities throughout the U.S. are alarmed by President Trump’s willful ignorance to (i) the international community, (ii) the basis for this well-established precedent, (iii) the intent for the future of Jerusalem since 1947, and (iv) any objective understanding of the facts on the ground for Palestinians living under military occupation including in Jerusalem.

The AFRP stands with the Palestinians currently living in the illegally occupied area of East Jerusalem. Palestine has held Jerusalem as the capital of their future country throughout the peace process, and President Trump’s move today has determined the city’s fate and removed any chance for brokering peace in the region.

The AFRP encourages its members to peacefully protest this move by gathering with other Arab American organizations, expressing their frustration with their elected officials, submitting opinion pieces to their local newspapers, using the hashtag #HandsOffJerusalem on social media and signing this petition: https://petitions.moveon.org/sign/president-trump-dont-1.fb52?source=c.fb&r_by=19367657.

Now is a time for the AFRP to use its strength as a well-connected community to voice concerns about the administration’s one-sided approach to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.