In Bethlehem prisoners take precedence over Trump

The American-funded Palestinian security forces in jet-black uniforms had some minor confrontations with disgruntled pedestrians as their matching jet-black Ford Super Duty Truck blocked a roadway.

By
May 23, 2017 15:42
2 minute read.
In Bethlehem prisoners take precedence over Trump

In Bethlehem prisoners take precedence over Trump . (photo credit: ELIYAHU KAMISHER)

 
X

Dear Reader,
As you can imagine, more people are reading The Jerusalem Post than ever before. Nevertheless, traditional business models are no longer sustainable and high-quality publications, like ours, are being forced to look for new ways to keep going. Unlike many other news organizations, we have not put up a paywall. We want to keep our journalism open and accessible and be able to keep providing you with news and analyses from the frontlines of Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish World.

As one of our loyal readers, we ask you to be our partner.

For $5 a month you will receive access to the following:

  • A user experience almost completely free of ads
  • Access to our Premium Section
  • Content from the award-winning Jerusalem Report and our monthly magazine to learn Hebrew - Ivrit
  • A brand new ePaper featuring the daily newspaper as it appears in print in Israel

Help us grow and continue telling Israel’s story to the world.

Thank you,

Ronit Hasin-Hochman, CEO, Jerusalem Post Group
Yaakov Katz, Editor-in-Chief

UPGRADE YOUR JPOST EXPERIENCE FOR 5$ PER MONTH Show me later

On Tuesday, as US President Donald Trump quickly made his way to a meeting with PA President Mahmoud Abbas, a mannequin locked in a cage stood near Bethlehem’s Church of the Nativity.

“Trump, we demand immediate action for our prisoners,” a sign on the cage said.

Be the first to know - Join our Facebook page.


Meanwhile children and mothers chanted in the city’s main gathering space, Manger Square: “With spirit and with blood, we will sacrifice ourselves for you, oh prisoners.”

A Palestinian security prisoners’ hunger strike, led by imprisoned Fatah leader Marwan Barghouti, entered its 37th day on Tuesday.

Barghouti, convicted of five counts of murder, said he is seeking improved conditions in Israeli prisons, while Israel says he is using the strike as a tool to increase his standing in Palestinian politics. The Palestinian Authority also faces strong criticism from Israeli and US officials for paying salaries to the families of convicted terrorists.

“This [Trump’s visit] could be a breakthrough on the hunger strike,” said Akram Alayasa, a spokesman for the PLO Prisoners’ Commission, who spoke from Manger Square Monday night. “This is part of their interest in Trump coming. If he is coming on another day you might not see anyone here.”

A large sign across the street from the Bab Al-Zqaq pharmacy greeted Trump’s convoy with “the city of peace welcomes the man of peace,” as a contingent of 700 elite Palestinian Presidential Guard forces secured the final route to the Bethlehem governor’s office. The American-funded Palestinian security forces, in jet-black uniforms, had some minor confrontations with disgruntled pedestrians as their matching jet-black Ford Super Duty Truck blocked a roadway.

JPOST VIDEOS THAT MIGHT INTEREST YOU:


“More important than Trump, we need our roads to be paved,” said Rami Jod, 17, who walked nearly 40 minutes to school due to the road closure.

“There’s no hope,” said Shaim Zoa, 18. “The US is always on Israel’s side.”

Thaer Mahmoud, 31, an employee at the Cairo Amman Bank said he thought Trump’s visit is a positive step.

“He believes in peace and wants two states,” said Mahmoud.

“He was a success in business, so he can be a success here.”

Rumors floated in the streets about the visit. “Ivanka and Melania will visit the Church of the Nativity,” said Sami a coffee vendor. “I’m the coffee man. I hear everything.”

Artemio Vitores Gonzalez, an Italian priest at the church, was waiting around to see if the rumored visit would come to fruition. “Do you know anything?” he asked. Gonzalez said he was “disappointed” that after an extensive security inspection of the church by American officials Trump did not visit. “Of course we are disappointed. This is Bethlehem and all of humanity for us started here over 2,000 years ago,” he said.

Still Trump’s visit did provide some optimism for Palestinians after Abbas spoke of the prisoner issue with Trump.

“[The prisoners’] demands are humane and just, and I call on the Israeli government to respond affirmatively to these humane and legitimate demands,” Abbas said.

“This is a good thing,” said Munkid Abu Atwan a former prisoner. “We hope that Trump will put pressure on Netanyahu to end the prisoner strike.”

Join Jerusalem Post Premium Plus now for just $5 and upgrade your experience with an ads-free website and exclusive content. Click here>>

Related Content

netanyahu liberman jerusalem attack
October 18, 2018
Who will inspire Netanyahu in responding to the Gaza predicament?

By HERB KEINON