Because of Trump, U.S. Officials Were Chased Out of Jesus’s Birthplace of Bethlehem by Angry Protesters

Palestinian activists throw tomatoes at a vehicle transporting members of an American economic delegation who are meeting with the Head of the Bethlehem Chamber for Commerce. Protesters were angry over President Donald Trump’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. Getty Images

A group of U.S. diplomats was chased out of the Palestinian town of Bethlehem on Tuesday by protesters angry over President Donald Trump’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.

The demonstration erupted during a training event organized by the U.S. consulate in Jerusalem for the chamber of commerce in Bethlehem, the city where Jesus is believed to have been born. Five protesters barged into the digital-marketing training while others stood outside. A video posted online showed demonstrators screaming, “You are not welcome here anymore.” One protester threw tomatoes at the vehicle carrying the diplomats as it drove away.

“Though no one was hurt, the objective was clearly intimidation. The United States absolutely opposes the use of violence and intimidation to express political views,” the State Department said in a statement.

On December 6, Trump announced that the U.S. would officially recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and would begin the process of moving the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. The controversial decision sparked protests around the world because East Jerusalem has long been envisioned as the future capital of a Palestinian state, if and when a two-state solution is reached between Israel and the Palestinians. For many, Trump’s decision put an end to any chance of a negotiated peace settlement. The Trump administration has continued to insist that a peace deal can be brokered.

U.S. allies like Turkey and Jordan have joined in the international protests against the decision. Protests also took place across the Middle East, leading to numerous arrests and several deaths.

Earlier this month, the Trump administration also cut funding to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNWRA), which works with about 5 million Palestinian refugees. U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley said the Trump administration did not want to help Palestinians unless their leadership came to the negotiating table to work on a Middle East peace agreement with Israel.

The decision was widely condemned and fueled further anti-American sentiment and protests in the region. 

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