Tunisians march against Trump's 'Deal of the Century'
A national march was staged in central Tunis on Wednesday to denounce Trump's "Deal of the Century" and show full solidarity with the Palestinian people
Several hundred people mobilised in the Tunisian capital in response to a call of the country's trade union confederation (UGTT) to protest against the Deal of the Century announced by US President Donald Trump last week.
Trade unionists, activists and members of the civil society gathered outside the UGTT's office in the centre of Tunis at noon. The labour union organisation is known to have placed the Palestinian cause at the heart of its concerns.
Palestinian flags and songs by Fairouz and Marcel Khalifa animated the scene for the occasion, with a show of support towards the rights of the Palestinians, and anger at the long-awaited Middle East peace plan biased in Israel's favour.
Slogans firmly rejecting the Trump-led initiative could be heard: "This deal won't pass" and "No to normalisation".
Holding a Palestinian flag in the crowd, Samira, a UGTT partisan and activist, manifested her unconditional sympathy with the Palestinian struggle: "This cause is in the hearts of the Tunisians. We refuse Trump's terrorist deal that aims to kick Palestinians out of their lands, make them give up on their existence," she uttered.
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"When one has a right, there's always hope," Samira continued. "Palestinians will fight for their land until the end. It's their right."
Moustafa, a trade unionist and militant, said with great concern, "Trump brokered this agreement in the absence of the Palestinians. It's very serious... Palestine is a global matter, this demonstration is the least we can do!"
Moustafa slammed the US move as an "unilateral" decision, foreseeing that the one-sided plan would have negative implications on intra-Arab relations since, he opined, Israel's policy is about "dividing Arab states" and "creating conflict" among them.
The controversial plan imposes the sovereignty of the Israeli occupation over Jerusalem, making it the alleged unified capital of Israel, as well as over Jewish enclaves and settlements scattered through the Palestinian territories denying the Palestinians any viable independent state.
|This cause is in the hearts of the Tunisians. We refuse Trump's terrorist deal that aims to kick Palestinians out of their lands, make them give up on their existence|
Protesters marched on Habib Bourguiba avenue holding up placards that read "Palestine is not for sale" among others, and chanting "The people want criminalisation of the normalisation with the Israeli state".
Aida, a leftist militant, carried a big poster calling for the liberation of jailed Lebanese struggler for Palestine, Georges Abdallah, as she started heading off from the rally point.
"Only through resistance we can hope Palestine will take back all the land that has been stolen from them," she voiced with determination.
"The day resistance prevails, we will throw the Zionist state in the sea. We believe that."
"There are pro-Zionist leaders ready to do whatever they're asked by the Americans and Israelis," she said alluding to political calculations of Arab countries vis-à-vis the Trump administration and the allied Netanyahu government.
In an address delivered at the feet of Habib Bourguiba avenue, UGTT Secretary-General Noureddine Taboubi condemned certain Arab leaders for betraying the Palestinian cause and said that the participation of a large number of citizens in the march showed their opposition to the "agreement of shame".
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While some Arab states have nodded – tacitly or not – to the Middle East peace plan, Tunisian President Kais Saied unequivocally said a week ago: "The Deal of the Century is not normalisation, it is high treason!" calling it the "injustice of the century".
Tunisia is among the countries that took an official position of rejection in the face of the American proposal. On Tuesday, the Tunisian parliament unanimously condemned the Trump-sponsored initiative considering it non-binding.
A group of Tunisian lawyers took part in the rally. Among them was Mohamed Ali Bouchiba, Secretary-General of the association Bloggers without Chains.
He warned that the widely contested deal could provoke violence, extremism in the Arab region and lead to regional instability.
"The Palestinian question is an issue of legal right, it cannot be addressed through such a plan contrary to human rights and international law," the lawyer maintained defending the principle that Palestine is Arab, with Jerusalem as the eternal capital of the Palestinians.
Alessandra Bajec is a freelance journalist currently based in Tunis.
Follow her on Twitter: @AlessandraBajec