Palestinian protesters disrupt business seminar US helped organise
January 30 2018 03:00 PM
Palestinian activists throw tomatoes at a vehicle transporting members of an American economic deleg
Palestinian activists throw tomatoes at a vehicle transporting members of an American economic delegation that are meeting with the Head of the Bethlehem Chamber for Commerce and Industry alongside Palestinian businessmen in the West Bank town of Bethlehem. AFP

Reuters/Bethlehem

* Palestinian demonstrators damage US diplomatic vehicle
* Bethlehem Chamber of Commerce hosted US business expert
* Protest held over Trump's policy change on Jerusalem


Palestinians protesting against US President Donald Trump's policy on Jerusalem halted a US-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 US consular licence 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 US Consulate in Jerusalem, which helped organise the workshop, declined immediate comment.
The US-based lecturer was not a consular staff member. He was accompanied by consular security personnel and some of its Palestinian employees, organisers said.
Trump's Dec. 6 announcement recognising Jerusalem as Israel's capital overturned decades of US 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, US Vice President Mike Pence said that Trump's promised relocation of the US Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem would take place by the end of 2019. Palestinians boycotted Pence's visit.
Israel's government regards Jerusalem as the eternal and indivisible capital of the country, although that is not recognised internationally. Palestinians say East Jerusalem, captured by Israel in a 1967 war, must be the capital of a state they seek in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.
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.



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