Large Arab Anti-Obama Protest as President Goes to Ramallah
As U.S. President Barack H. Obama arrived in Ramallah for talks with Palestinian Authority officials, a large anti-Obama demonstration was taking place a few blocks away from the Muqata, the Palestinian Authority's headquarters in Ramallah.
Israel Television reporter Yoram Cohen said that the demonstrators shouts could be heard at the site where PA chief Mahmoud Abbas greeted Obama and his entourage, who had arrived from Jerusalem by helicopter.
Thursday's demonstration was the continuation of a definite anti-Obama movement in the PA, with PA Arabs saying that Obama had backed away from his previous attempts to pressure Israel, and that he was not pushing hard enough for Israel to surrender land and halt construction in Judea and Samaria.
Thousands of PA police and security officers were stationed in Ramallah. A large contingent of the officers had surrounded the very vocal protesters, said Cohen, preventing them from getting to the Muqata.
Obama is set to have lunch with Abbas and hold a private meeting with him, after which the two will hold a press conference. Later, Obama will visit a youth center in the Ramallah suburb of Al-Bireh which was built with American money.
According to Cohen, Obama gave a particularly warm greeting to PA Prime Minister Salam Fayyad. Fayyad is seen by many in the West as a potential replacement for Abbas, who would be willing to cooperate with the US and Europe on negotiating a final status deal with Israel. There is, however, much crticism for Fayyad's economic and financial activities, so that he has become less popular.. Abbas and Fayyad are said to be at odds on many issues.