Obama receives chillier reception from Palestinians

Thursday, March 21, 2013 |  Israel Today Staff

If President Shimon Peres was able to cover up Israelis' general apathy regarding US President Barack Obama's visit, the hostile response to the American leader's arrival in Ramallah made it impossible to do the same among the Palestinian Arabs.

As Obama entered the Palestinian Authority compound known as the "Muqata," hundreds of angry protesters gathered outside holding up their shoes (a major insult in the Arab world) and demanding that the president leave "Palestine."

Israeli and Palestinian media cited many of the protesters changing slogans such as "We don't want peace, only bullets and missiles" and "Go home you devil, we don't want to see Americans here."

One woman holding up a picture of her jailed son, who was involved the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center, insisted he "didn't do anything wrong."

There were reported clashes between protesters and Palestinian Authority police. In Bethlehem, Palestinians burned several of the American flags that had been hung along the streets of the biblical city.

Obama and Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas were expected to discuss the Israeli-Palestinian peace process in a closed-door meeting.

Hours before Obama flew from Jerusalem to Ramallah, Palestinian terror groups operating out of the Gaza Strip fired five missiles into southern Israel, a clear message that they, and not Abbas, set the tone in the region.

It is a point Israelis have long argued. Obama and the West can oversee the signing of a piece of paper between Israel and the Palestinian Authority, but if the latter cannot control Hamas and other Palestinian terror groups, then such an agreement is meaningless.

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