'Trump, Listen!' Palestinian Protesters Rally as US President Sails Through
The U.S. president's visit to the region was marked by protests more than progress
Palestinian activists rallied and demonstrated during U.S. President Donald Trump's brief visit to the West Bank city of Bethlehem on Tuesday, calling for a "Day of Rage" to amplify the voices and demands of hunger-striking prisoners who have been protesting since mid-April.
Trump met Tuesday with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas; the two men "emerged from the meeting with hopeful but vague words, and no details of what might come next," according to the New York Times. Following that meeting, Trump visited Israel's national Holocaust memorial in Jerusalem, delivered a light-on-details speech, and then left for the next stop on his trip: the Vatican.
The U.S. president's visit to the region was marked by protests. Roughly 500 demonstrators rallied in front of the U.S. Embassy in Tel Aviv and U.S. Consulate in Jerusalem Monday, bearing signs that read, "Impeach Trump" and "Trump go home."
Meanwhile, the Associated Press reported that "[h]undreds of protesters blocked roads in cities and towns of the West Bank" on Monday, in solidarity with the Palestinian prisoner strike that began in April in opposition to dismal conditions as well as "Israel's inhumane system of colonial and military occupation."
According to the AP, "[s]tores and government offices closed down, public transportation ground to a halt, and main thoroughfares in Palestinian cities were empty of people and cars."
The Palestinian Ma'an news agency said at least 20 activists "were shot and injured—one seriously—during clashes with Israeli forces in the occupied West Bank districts of Ramallah and Hebron." The outlet reported:
Israeli forces fired both live ammunition and rubber-coated steel bullets at Palestinian protesters who marched from Ramallah city to Israel's Qalandiya military checkpoint, according to Palestinian medical sources.
Among those injured was a young man who was hit with a live bullet in the abdomen and was evacuated to the Palestinian Medical Complex in Ramallah. Doctors there reported his condition as "moderate to serious."
On Tuesday, Ma'an reports separately, "Palestinian activists set up an effigy representing Palestinian prisoners in front of the Nativity Church in Bethlehem," anticipating a possible visit from Trump. He did not stop at the site; however, protesters still rallied, shouting in Arabic: "Trump, listen! The prisoners will not kneel!" and "We have a message to the Americans: Prisoners are our priority."