TheBlaze previously reported that President Barack Obama has planned to forgo an extended tour of an Iron Dome field unit during his upcoming trip to Israel to instead make a stop in Palestinian-controlled Bethlehem. Locals seem none-too-pleased, however, as activists converged on Bethlehem's Manger Square Monday to tear down, trample and set fire to a billboard of the U.S. president as they chanted: "America is the head of the snake."
The protesters also threw shoes at American diplomatic vehicles arriving in preparation of Obama's visit.
The reason, according to Ma'an News Agency, is to showcase the plight of Palestinians who have allegedly "been deprived of the right to have 3G telecommunication technology because they compete with Israeli companies."
What's more, the activists apparently believe that the lack of 3G coverage constitutes "cruel, inhuman degrading punishment" as, after ripping down the Obama billboard, they replaced it with one of their own reading a statement to this very effect.
The activists' banner read: "No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman degrading treatment or punishment."
Counter-intuitively, one protester said that he actually does not want 3G technology to come to the area.
“We came here today to tell Obama that we don’t want 3G in Palestine,” said Samir Odeh, a Fatah activist in Bethlehem. “We want a state, the release of prisoners and an end to settlement construction. We also want to see our refugees return to their homes.”
With a shoe in hand, the JPost reports that another protester, Fayez Mansour, said that Obama is not welcome in Bethlehem.
“We won’t receive Obama with flowers and a red carpet,” he said. “We will receive him with shoes. We want to tell America that we hate you and you have no place here. We don't want to see Obama in Palestine. He is coming to save Israel. He does not have anything to offer our people."
According to yet another activist, Palestinians are opposed to Obama’s visit because he is coming "as a pilgrim."
The Palestinian Authority has said it will not counter any protests against Obama's visit so long as protesters are granted permission prior. According to Ma'an, no PA security forces were reported to have been seen in Manger Square at the time of the billboard-trampling.
The JPost reports that similar anti-Obama protests are slated to take place in Ramallah and other Palestinian towns in the coming week.
Mazen al-Azza, a protest organizer, blasted Obama for coming solely to help Israelis.
“Obama is not welcome in Palestine,” al-Azza said. “He has done nothing for the Palestinians. He does not care about the Palestinian prisoners who are being held in Israel.”
Other activists welcome Obama so long as he secures the release of Palestinian prisoners and stops construction of Jewish communities.
JPost adds that a Palestinian woman shouted: “Allahu Akbar! Obama is not welcome in Palestine. He is an Israeli agent.”