Protesters slam ‘reckless’ US – Jerusalem move, ‘Arab silence’
KUWAIT: A large number of Kuwaitis and Arabs yesterday demonstrated in Irada Square opposite the National Assembly to express their rejection of the US administration’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and move the US embassy there. The call to protest had been made by several political groups, including the Islamic Constitutional Movement (ICM) linked to the Muslim Brotherhood, and civil society associations. A “Wanted” poster of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was torched by one protester and trampled on by others.
Speakers urged Kuwait and Arab governments to pressure Trump to reverse his controversial decision, which has sparked protests across the Arab and Muslim world. Louloua Al-Mulla, head of Kuwait’s Women’s Cultural and Social Society, said the rally was aimed at “voicing the anger of the Kuwaiti people” at Trump’s move. “Trump’s decision is unfair. Civil society groups in Kuwait denounce it,” she said. The National Assembly is due to hold a special session on Wednesday to discuss Washington’s policy shift.
Former MP Abdullah Al-Tamimi described the US President Donald Trump’s decision as ‘reckless’, adding moves to turn Jerusalem into a Jewish city had never stopped since 1948. Tamimi said much is anticipated from the people rather than the government. “We have never seen any tangible solutions over the past 60 years, as US administrations have been taking advantage of Arabs’ endless disputes. However, we say that Jerusalem is an Arab city and will remain so regardless of the circumstances,” he vowed, noting that Kuwait will never accept this decision.
ICM MP Osama Al-Shaheen stressed that Jerusalem is not only an Arab and Muslim cause, but one of humanity in general. He urged Arab governments against mere verbal condemnations and to act more powerfully by rejecting all forms of normalization. Shaheen said his group has asked the government “to take measures against US interests… and we expect to see concrete measures before Wednesday, not just condemnations”. “It is no longer acceptable to have all our investments, political and financial interests in the United States when there are other countries in the world that have much better (political) positions,” he added.
Another ICM member MP Mohammed Al-Dallal said that the Palestinian cause is the Muslims’ prime cause and that Trump would not have made such a decision if Arab leaders had not been so weak. He also hailed the Turkish president for calling for an Islamic summit in Istanbul. MP Thamer Al-Suwait condemned what he described as “Arab silence”, adding that along with a number of MPs, he has filed a proposal to hold a special session on Wednesday.
MP Ahmad Lari said Trump made the decision for domestic benefits. Former MP Mubarak Al-Duwailah said the gathering was not only for the Palestinians, but rather for the Muslims’ prime cause. MP Khalil Abdullah said Kuwait, which will serve as a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council for a two-year term from January, should use its upcoming position to rally support against Trump’s decision.
National Democratic Alliance member Hussein Al-Awadhi said that the US decision will set the entire global political arena on fire and urged the Arab League to make practical decisions to force the US to rescind its decision. The protesters agreed to gather and demonstrate outside the US Embassy later this week. Meanwhile, another demonstration was held outside the Palestinian embassy late yesterday in solidarity with the Palestinians. Authorities allowed the protests at Irada Square and outside the Palestinian Embassy, but banned any demonstration near the American Embassy.
By Meshaal Al-Enezi