Israeli-Arab lawmakers were forcibly removed after protesting Mike Pence’s big speech to Israel’s parliament

  • Israeli-Arab members of the Knesset were forcibly removed during Vice President Mike Pence’s speech to Israel’s parliament.
  • The lawmakers held signs saying “Jerusalem Is The Capital of Palestine.”
  • The protest seemed to be in response to recent changes in US-Israel policy under President Donald Trump.

Israeli-Arab members of the Knesset, Israel’s parliament, were forcibly removed during Vice President Mike Pence’s speech on Monday after protesting new US policies on Jerusalem.

The lawmakers brandished signs saying “Jerusalem Is The Capital of Palestine,” apparently a response to President Donald Trump announcing that the US would recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. The signs featured a picture of the Dome of the Rock, a Muslim holy site and one of the most recognizable buildings in Jerusalem.

During his December speech, Trump also said the US would move its embassy in Israel to Jerusalem from Tel Aviv, a decision that Pence confirmed in his speech to the Knesset.

Trump and Pence both said that the US would not make any decisions on the borders of an East and West Jerusalem, or a final status agreement of the city, which has long been considered to be determined by negotiations.

Knesset member Ayman Odeh tweeted on Monday that he was proud to lead a “strong, legitimate protest, against the Trump-Netanyahu regime’s exaltation of racism and hatred, who speak of peace solely as lip service.”

Another Knesset member reportedly yelled, “You are free to give up Indiana but not Jerusalem!” – referring to Pence’s home state.

Video of the protest shows that the Knesset members were removed almost immediately after Pence began speaking:

NBC News’ Andrea Mitchell compared the event to “Capitol Police dragging members of the congressional black caucus off the House floor.”

Pence confirmed several elements of US-Israel policy in his speech, which received a mixed response from the Israelis.

Notably, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu did not applaud when Pence said the US would support a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict “if both sides agree.”

Pence addressed another key part of Trump’s December speech in his Knesset speech, saying the US would move its embassy to Jerusalem by next year. Previously, the process was expected to take several years.