PA security forces target activists who protested US trade delegation

Palestinian Authority (PA) forces yesterday detained a Palestinian activist and summoned for interrogation four others after a protest targeting an American trade delegation in Bethlehem.

According to Ma’an News Agency, Mohammad Lutfi, “a local activist and resident of the Aida refugee camp”, was arrested yesterday evening by PA security forces.

Three other activists “identified as Anas Abu Srour, Ahmad Odeh, Ibrahim Msallam, were summoned for interrogation with PA special security in Bethlehem”, as well as an unnamed fourth activist.

Shortly after Lutfi was detained, “dozens” of Palestinians from Aida refugee camp and the surrounding area went to the PA headquarters to demand his release. Lutfi was subsequently freed, but only after he, with the others, agreed to appear for interrogation today.

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Yesterday, a number of Palestinian activists disrupted a meeting of Palestinian officials and American delegates at the office of the Bethlehem Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

The protesters held signs denouncing US President Donald Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, and told the Americans that they “are not welcome here anymore”.

Trump’s Jerusalem declaration, as well as a number of tweets and cuts to the UN refugee agency, have “sparked protests and calls for a full boycott of American intervention in Palestinian political, economic, and civilian life”, reported Ma’an.

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