Hundreds of Palestinians gathered in the center of Ramallah on Wednesday to protest against US President Barack Obama’s planned visit to the city.
Palestinian activists vowed to step up their protests against Obama on Thursday and Friday.
The Palestinian Authority security forces plan to impose a curfew on large parts of Ramallah during Obama’s visit to the city. On the instruction of the PA leadership, schools will be closed in the city on Thursday and many streets blocked.
The protest was organized by the radical Islamist group Hizb ut Tahrir, which seeks the establishment of an Islamic caliphate.Click here for full JPost coverage of Obama's visit to Israel
In a related development, a group of Palestinian lawyers filed a request with the PA prosecutor-general demanding that Obama be arrested during his stay in Ramallah.
The lawyers said in their request that they wanted Obama apprehended because of the US Army’s responsibility for the death of Palestinian journalist Mazen Da’na in Iraq in 2003. US troops shot Da’na, who worked as a cameraman, near Abu Ghraib Prison after he was mistaken for a terrorist.
Declaring Obama persona non grata, the demonstrators in Ramallah chanted: “O malicious Obama, defender of the state of the Jews,” “We hereby declare, America is the mother of terror,” “This nation shall not be humiliated or succumb to the Americans” and “O Obama go back, Palestine is not for sale.”
Some carried placards that read: “Obama, you are the enemy of the people of Palestine and ally of the Jews. You are not welcome here.”
Ala Abu Saleh, a senior Hizb ut Tahrir official, told the crowd that the US and Obama were the number one enemy of Islam and Muslims.
“America occupied and destroyed Iraq and Afghanistan and perpetrated the most gruesome atrocities and brutal massacres,” Abu Saleh said. “America killed more than half a million Iraqi children and its soldiers desecrated the Koran in Guantanamo and Kabul.”
Referring to Obama’s visit, he said: “Today an evil enemy is arriving in Palestine as his hands are dripping with the blood of our brothers in Iraq and Afghanistan.”
Abu Saleh criticized the PA leadership for agreeing to receive Obama and urged Palestinians to condemn the visit.
Muna Mansour, a Fatah legislator from Nablus, said that Obama’s visit would not bring any good to the Palestinians.
“The US is only interested in protecting Israel,” she complained.
She also called on the PA leadership not to succumb to US pressure to resume peace talks with Israel.
In the Gaza Strip, dozens of angry Palestinians set fire to US and Israeli flags in protest against Obama’s visit.
Some of the protesters carried placards denouncing Obama as the “Hitler of the 21st century.”
Other signs described him as a “leader of world terror and supporter of Zionism.