Arabs in Bethlehem had a “warm welcome” for American officials who on Monday came to prepare for President Barack H. Obama's visit to the city Friday, by throwing shoes and garbage at the vehicles in an entourage from the U.S. Consulate in Jerusalem. Hundreds of Arabs mobbed the vehicles outside the Church of the Nativity, where Obama is scheduled to visit when he comes to Bethlehem.
Sources in the city told Israel Radio that Arab protesters tore down posters with Obama's image, throwing them to the ground and spitting and stepping on them. The protesters threw shoes at other posters that were hung too high for them to easily tear down.
The American entourage had entered Bethlehem unannounced, apparently in an effort to avoid such scenes. The entourage was said to be comprised chiefly of security officials who were there to ensure that Obama would be safe during his visit. PA police attempted to stop the crowd from throwing shoes and debris at the American vehicles, and were only partially successful, witnesses said.
Sources in the PA said they were examining ways to ensure that Monday's protests were not repeated when Obama came to town.