PA arrests boy who threw shoe at Fayad

Bethlehem journalist tells 'Post' PA security forces warned him, colleagues not to report the incident.

Abbas Fayad 248.88 (photo credit: AP [file])
Abbas Fayad 248.88
(photo credit: AP [file])
A Palestinian boy who threw a shoe at the car of Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Salaam Fayad has been arrested by the PA security forces. The incident, the first of its kind in the West Bank, is seen by Palestinians as an attempt to imitate Iraqi journalist Montadar al-Zeidi, who tossed his shoes at US President George W. Bush during a press conference in Baghdad. Al-Zeidi has since become a hero of the Arab and Muslim masses. The boy was identified as Saher Ahmed Muhaisen, 15, from the Dehaishe refugee camp near Bethlehem. The incident occurred last Thursday while Fayad was in Bethlehem to attend a conference of Christian community leaders. Sources in the city told The Jerusalem Post that Muhaisen hurled his shoe and an orange at Fayad's car as his convoy passed through one of the main thoroughfares. No one was hurt. They said that PA policemen and security officers accompanying the convoy arrested the boy after chasing him through the alleyways of the camp. The sources quoted eyewitnesses as reporting that the boy was severely beaten before being taken into custody. The boy remains in prison, and the motive for his attack on Fayad remains unclear. A Palestinian journalist living in Bethlehem told the Post that he and his colleagues have been warned by the PA security commanders not to report on the incident. The journalist, who asked not to be identified out of fear for his safety, said that Fayad's convoy was attacked on two other occasions. "Each time the convoy passed through the main streets, young men would throw different objects, especially vegetables, at the cars," he said. The journalist added that the PA police have so far arrested eight suspects, including Muhaisen, in connection with the assaults. He said the families of two other teenagers have refused to hand their sons over to the security forces for questioning about the attacks. According to the sources, all the suspects are minors. A senior PA official in Bethlehem said the suspects were detained for throwing vegetables at vehicles belonging to the security forces in the city. He refused to say whether the attacks were directed against Fayad's heavily-guarded convoy. Asked why the PA has refrained from informing the public about the alleged incidents, the official replied, "This is not an important issue and we don't think there's a need to publish it. It's just a trivial matter concerning thugs."