Rioters vandalize US diplomatic vehicle in Bethlehem

PA rioters disrupt marketing workshop featuring US speaker accompanied by consular security personnel, attacking vehicle as it speeds off.

Tal Polon ,

Wisam Hashlamoun/Flash90

Palestinian Authority rioters interrupted a US-coordinated marketing workshop in the PA-controlled city of Bethlehem this afternoon, Tuesday, vandalizing a US consular vehicle in the process, Reuters reported.

Samir Hazboun, director of the Bethlehem Chamber of Commerce, told Reuters that the chamber had been hosting a digital marketing workshop co-organized by the US consulate which featured a US-based expert, “when about five protesters barged in.”

“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.

Organizers of the event said that the American lecturer was not a consular staff member, but was accompanied by consular security personnel and some consular employees who are PA Arab residents.

According to Reuters, as the consular vehicle sped from the scene accompanied by PA police, the rioters threw tomatoes at it, kicked one of its doors and damaged a side mirror.

The US State Department, commenting on the incident, 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 US engagement to create economic opportunities for Palestinians.”

The incident comes after PA activists, led by representatives of Mahmoud Abbas’ Fatah party, on Saturday held a mock trial for Trump and Pence in Bethlehem.

The public event included the reading of a faux verdict, followed by the execution by hanging of Trump and Pence in effigy.