Angry Palestinians disrupt US-coordinated business seminar in protest of Trump’s policies

RAMALLAH, WEST BANK - JANUARY 30: Palestinian refugees protest against U.S. move to cut funding for the Palestinian Authority (PA) and UN refugee agency UNRWA in front of the Cabinet Building in Ramallah, West Bank on January 30, 2018. The United States withheld about more than half the 125 million dollars aid to United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA). (Issam Rimawi/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)

Kevin Joseph Ryan

A group of  angry Palestinians protested Donald Trump’s Middle East policies Tuesday by disrupting a U.S.-organized digital marketing workshop at the Bethlehem Chamber of Commerce.

In an interview with Reuters, Chamber of Commerce Director Samir Hazboun said that five protestors barged into the workshop.

“We hosted an American expert on this issue. Some people who have been trying to express their point of view and protest (against) the American decision regarding Jerusalem and the political situation … interrupted the workshop and we stopped the workshop,” Hazboun said. There was no indication that the protesters used violence inside the

Outside the Chamber of Commerce, protestors hurled tomatoes at any car with a U.S. license plate. Some of them kicked a passing SUV, and tore off its side mirror.

Reuters reports that staff from the U.S. consulate were also in attendance, but that the workshop’s lecturer, an American, was not a member of the consulate staff, although he did have a security escort.

A spokesperson from the State Department spokesperson said, “The United States opposes the use of violence and intimidation to express political views. This non-political program was one part of long-term U.S. engagement to create economic opportunities for Palestinians.”

The office of Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas denounced the attacks, saying that it “reaffirms its absolute rejection of such behavior, which contradicts Palestinian manners and norms.”

In December, Palestinians and Muslims worldwide were enraged by President Trump’s public acknowledgement of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, and again this month by the president’s his recent threats to sever aid for Palestinian refugees if Palestinian leaders continued to refuse peace talks with Israel.