Eid al-Adha festival in Ramallah attacked for ‘displaying LGBT banners'

Some eyewitnesses said that the assailants identified themselves as members of Fatah, the ruling faction headed by Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.

 Palestinians celebrate on the first day of Muslim holiday of Eid al-Adha on the compound known to Muslims as Noble Sanctuary and Jews as Temple Mount, in Jerusalem's Old City, July 9, 2022. (photo credit: REUTERS/AMMAR AWAD)
Palestinians celebrate on the first day of Muslim holiday of Eid al-Adha on the compound known to Muslims as Noble Sanctuary and Jews as Temple Mount, in Jerusalem's Old City, July 9, 2022.
(photo credit: REUTERS/AMMAR AWAD)

Palestinian thugs attacked a group of people in Ramallah on Friday who were celebrating Eid al-Adha, on the pretext that participants were carrying banners belonging to the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) community.

The event, attended by many Palestinians and foreigners, was organized by the Palestinian Ashtar Theater as part of a youth festival.

Several people were injured in the attack, eyewitnesses said. One was identified as Edward Muallem, who works as a director of the theater.

Palestinian Authority policemen fired live ammunition into the air to stop the assault.

 Palestinian police officers stand guard during a protest over the death of Nizar Banat, a critic of the Palestinian Authority, in Ramallah in the West Bank, June 26, 2021 (credit: REUTERS/MOHAMAD TOROKMAN) Palestinian police officers stand guard during a protest over the death of Nizar Banat, a critic of the Palestinian Authority, in Ramallah in the West Bank, June 26, 2021 (credit: REUTERS/MOHAMAD TOROKMAN)

“Today at 5:30 p.m., a group of thugs attacked a group of Ashtar International Theater guests and students while standing in front of the Ottoman Court [in Ramallah],” the theater said in a statement.

“Today at 5:30 p.m., a group of thugs attacked a group of Ashtar International Theater guests and students while standing in front of the Ottoman Court [in Ramallah].”

Ashtar Theater

“They were planning to march with a Palestinian flag, a map of Palestine and a large doll to celebrate Eid al-Adha. Suddenly, a group of thugs attacked the participants and started beating and cursing them. The police came and dispersed the young men, but they followed the artists to the Ramallah municipality square and attacked them again. The police did not intervene this time. This brutal attack resulted in injuries to youths and children and the theft of their mobile phones.”

The theater “strongly condemned this lawlessness and all those who contribute to these inflammatory phenomena, which only serve the growing rift in our society and the occupation.”

Some eyewitnesses said the assailants identified themselves as members of Fatah, the ruling faction headed by Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.

The assailants claimed that the participants raised flags and banners associated with the LGBT community. The organizers of the festival and several Ramallah residents, however, denied the claim.

Several Palestinian cultural institutions condemned the attack on the procession.

In a joint statement, the institutions said the “blatant attack comes in the context of a series of recent assaults on cultural events and work.” They held the PA responsible for protecting cultural institutions and events and demanded a transparent investigation into Friday’s attack.

Ramallah concert canceled

The latest incident came less than a month after Palestinian activists prevented a concert in Ramallah, where Jerusalem singer-songwriter and video artist Bashar Murad, who is gay, was supposed to perform.

The activists arrived at the theater where the concert was scheduled to take place and threatened the organizers on the pretext that Murad was a “pervert” and Islam does not allow such events.

PA Police Spokesman Luay Izreikat said the attack occurred during a procession organized by Ashtar Theater, where participants carried “colorful banners.” He said the police have launched an investigation to determine the identity of the attackers and the reasons behind it. One person has been arrested, he said.