Palestinians organize protests against Obama’s visit

Special to

RAMALLAH — Palestinians aligned with the ruling Fatah movement have
begun organizing massive protests against U.S. President Barack Obama.

Palestinian sources said groups aligned with Fatah were mobilizing for
Obama’s visit to Israel and to the West Bank, expected to take place on March 22.

Palestinian activists said over the weekend that they would hold demonstrations in protest against US President Barack Obama’s planned visit to the West Bank later this month.  /Reuters/Jason Reed
Palestinian activists said they would hold demonstrations in protest against U.S. President Barack Obama’s planned visit to the West Bank later this month. /Reuters/Jason Reed

The sources said the groups wanted to draw tens of thousands of Palestinians to protest the Obama visit as well as U.S. support for Israel. The United States provides more than $500 million in annual aid to the Palestinian Authority.

“We call on the masses of the Palestinian people to change this path and
demonstrate against receiving he who considers Israel ‘the closest ally in
the region,’ and to refuse the return to futile negotiations,” a coalition
called Palestinians For Dignity said.

In a statement on March 10, Palestinians For Dignity, which appeared
during Fatah-supported demonstrations against the PA in 2012, called for protests against renewed negotiations between the regime of PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas and Israel.

The coalition of young Palestinians said Obama sought to ease international pressure on Israel, restrain Palestinian unrest in the West Bank as well as bolster the PA, “which after 20 years is becoming more and more disconnected from its people.”

Other Fatah-aligned groups have also appealed for mass demonstrations
against Obama. Some of the groups have called for blocking the road between
Jerusalem and Ramallah as well as the Temple Mount in Jerusalem.

A leading Islamist group, Hizb Al Tahrir, has threatened to disrupt any
Obama visit to the Temple Mount. Hizb, believed to have tens of thousands of
supporters, said members would throw shoes at Obama and his entourage.

In early March, Palestinians attacked the convoy of British
consul-general Vincent Fean during a visit to Bir Zeit University outside
Ramallah. Fean, scheduled to give a lecture, was rushed away by his security
detail as Palestinians hurled objects at the consul’s vehicle.

“What is required of us as Palestinians is to pursue a complete boycott
of our occupier on all fronts: security, economical, political, cultural and
academic, and to rebuild a representative entity for Palestinians
everywhere,” Palestinians For Dignity said.

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