Angered By Trump, Palestinian Protesters Target U.S. Business Delegation
BETHLEHEM, West Bank (Reuters) – Palestinians protesting against President Donald Trump’s policy on Jerusalem halted a U.S.-coordinated Palestinian marketing workshop in the occupied West Bank on Tuesday, damaging an American diplomatic vehicle as it sped away.
Protesters threw tomatoes at the sports utility vehicle, which had U.S. consular license plates, kicked one of its doors and ripped the plastic casing off a side mirror as it drove off under Palestinian police escort from the Bethlehem Chamber of Commerce.
Samir Hazboun, the chamber’s director, told Reuters that a digital marketing workshop was under way when about five protesters barged in.
“We hosted an American expert on this issue. Some people who have been trying to express their point of view and protest (against) the American decision regarding Jerusalem and the political situation … interrupted the workshop and we stopped the workshop,” Hazboun said.
The U.S. Consulate in Jerusalem, which helped organize the workshop, declined immediate comment.
The U.S.-based lecturer was not a consular staff member. He was accompanied by consular security personnel and some of its Palestinian employees, organizers said.
Trump’s Dec. 6 announcement recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital overturned decades of U.S. policy that its status should be decided in Israeli-Palestinian negotiations.
His declaration drew universal condemnation from Arab leaders, stirred Palestinian street protests and drew widespread international criticism.
On a visit to Israel last week, U.S. Vice President Mike Pence said that Trump’s promised relocation of the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem would take place by the end of 2019. Palestinians boycotted Pence’s visit.
In the Aida refugee camp near Bethlehem on Saturday, effigies of Trump and Pence were hanged and burned in a protest attended by about 30 Palestinians.