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Two Cities Rife with Tension, as Protesters Clash with Police

U.S. officials have labored in recent weeks to lower expectations about the revival of the peace talks.
Palestinian protesters burn an Israeli flag and a poster of U.S. President Barack Obama in the village of Nabi Saleh, near Ramallah.

Palestinian protesters burn an Israeli flag and a poster of U.S. President Barack Obama in the village of Nabi Saleh, near Ramallah.
Photo Credit: Isasm Rimawi/FLASH90

Jerusalem and Ramallah have erected massive security presence ahead of Obama’s visit. At any given time there will be 5,000 Israeli police and security officers on the streets of Jerusalem, where many areas will be cordoned off and watched over by police helicopters escorting the presidential convoy.

According to the Palestinian security forces, some 3,000 Arab policemen will be deployed in Area A, which is under complete PA control, where protests have been on the rise in recent weeks.

Palestinian Authority police on Tuesday encountered dozens of anti-Obama protesters, Reuters reported. A very large number of officers and plainclothes policemen blocked the angry crowd from arriving at the offices of PA President Mahmoud Abbas in Ramallah, in a large scale shoving match that did not result in serious injuries.

Palestinians are not expecting much from Obama’s visit, especially after U.S. officials have labored in recent weeks to lower expectations about the revival of peace talks with Israel.

“It’s a slap in the face. People are angry and disappointed that this far into his presidency, Obama has done nothing, and aid to Israel’s occupation continues to flow,” demonstrator Huwaida Arraf told Reuters.

You see? Everybody in the Middle East resents Obama, not just right-wing Jews.

During his three-day visit, the U.S. president will hold separate meetings with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem and President Abbas in Ramallah.

On Friday, Obama will visit Bethlehem’s Church of the Nativity, the birthplace of a major Christian figure of Jewish birth. Then the presidential convoy will ride across the Jordan River into the State of Jordan.

On Monday, in what could be coined road rage in effigy, a dozen Bethlehemites drove their cars over a banner with Obama’s face and painted a swastika on his forehead.

Shoulda’ done that last November…

According to Reuters, Palestinian singer Alaa Shaham and fellow artists recorded a satirical video clip in which Obama is shown waiting at an Israeli checkpoint and driving through a refugee camp in his shiny BMW.

I’ve searched for that supposed video, which, according to Reuters, since being uploaded to YouTube on Monday night has been viewed more than 10,000 times—didn’t find it. Would be very grateful if a reader posted a link in the comments section.

“We’re trying to send him a message. We welcome him, it’s an important visit of course. But US policy has frustrated Palestinians – it disregards their cause,” Shaham told Reuters.

Well, if you continue to post video messages no one can find – expect to be disregarded…

About the Author: Yori Yanover has been a working journalist since age 17, before he enlisted and worked for Ba'Machane Nachal. Since then he has worked for Israel Shelanu, the US supplement of Yedioth, JCN18.com, USAJewish.com, Lubavitch News Service, Arutz 7 (as DJ on the high seas), and the Grand Street News. He has published Dancing and Crying, a colorful and intimate portrait of the last two years in the life of the late Lubavitch Rebbe, (in Hebrew), and two fun books in English: The Cabalist's Daughter: A Novel of Practical Messianic Redemption, and How Would God REALLY Vote.


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One Response to “Two Cities Rife with Tension, as Protesters Clash with Police”

  1. Bethlehem, the birthplace of a major Christian figure of Jewish birth? I wonder Who that could be. Sad.

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