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Tuesday, 29 September 2020

Pro-Palestinian activists protest Israel accords in Washington

AFP , Tuesday 15 Sep 2020
Washington
People protest against Israel near the White House in Washington, DC, September 15, 2020. AFP
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Dozens of pro-Palestinian demonstrators gathered Tuesday in front of the White House to protest the signing of historic accords between Israel, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain.

"This is a backstab to the Palestinian people," said Zeina Hutchison, head of a coalition of pro-Palestinian associations behind the rally.

"What they call a peace deal is endorsing the occupation and apartheid," says the 39-year-old activist, who was born in the Palestinian territories and now lives in Virginia.

"It's not new but it's visible -- they are investing in colonization."

Israel normalized relations with long-time foes Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates at a White House ceremony on Tuesday, in deals brokered by the United States.

US President Donald Trump said similar deals were close between the Jewish state and "five or six" other nations.

For Mark Zayyad, a 54-year-old New Yorker who travelled to Washington for the demonstration, "Donald Trump is destroying the Middle East."

"This peace is wrong," he added.

Senan Shaq of the US Palestinian Council said Trump "does not have the right to determine the solution to give the Palestinian land to the Israelis."

As part of the normalization agreement with the UAE, Israel agreed to suspend planned annexations in the occupied West Bank, although Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has said the plans remain on the table in the long-run.

The 50 or so activists gathered in Washington, draped in keffiyehs and carrying Palestinian flags, marched outside the White House chanting slogans such as "Free Palestine."

"If you want to make peace, it's fine. But Palestinians deserve to have something too. We are humans too," thundered 76-year-old Rashid Awad.

Dressed in a blue suit, Awad promised that neither he nor his wife would vote for Trump in the November 3 presidential election.

"He spreads hatred in this country," he said.

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