‘A joke’: Palestinians slam Trump’s proposal for new capital

Just outside of Jerusalem lies Abu Dis, a small village which US President Donald Trump’s Middle East plan has earmarked as the new capital of a future Palestinian state.

Referred to as a suburb by its residents, Abu Dis is part of the Jerusalem governorate, but lies outside the municipal limits of the city.

Its population of around 20,000 residents is separated from the Old City by Israel’s eight-metre high illegal separation wall and cut off from surrounding areas by large Israeli settlements, also illegal.

Although a historic town, it lacks cultural and religious significance for Palestinians who regard Jerusalem as the only capital for their future state and a cradle of civilisations for its significance in all three Abrahamic faiths: Islam, Christianity and Judaism.

“Palestinians will never accept Abu Dis as their capital,” said 75-year-old Khaled Muhsin, a resident of the village.

“Jerusalem is our capital, not theirs (the Israelis),” he said pointing across the separation wall and towards Jerusalem.

‘Completely rejected’
Trump introduced the idea of a new capital as part of the US recognition of Palestinians’ right to a state of their own.

According to the 181-page document unveiled in the White House on Tuesday, the new capital would include areas east and north of the separation wall, “including Kafr Aqab, the eastern part of Shuafat and Abu Dis, and could be named Al Quds”.

But for 70-year-old Ali Mansour, a resident of Abu Dis, the US plan was “a joke”.

“Abu Dis is a little village. Who on earth could think of it as the capital of Palestine?” he asked. “Not even a child would accept this.”

Mansour’s family was displaced in 1948 from areas a village that is now part of Israel. “Jerusalem is simply a red line for us,” he said.

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