Bethlehem is controlled by Israel
Disappointment in Bethlehem: Trump cancels the Church of the Nativity
Disappointment in Bethlehem: Trump was here, but many Palestinians find his visit too short and purely symbolic. "Only 15 minutes here - he was in Saudi Arabia for three days! That's where the money is," says the owner of a restaurant on Krippenstrasse, just around the corner from Abbas headquarters where the meeting took place. It is the road that leads to the Church of the Nativity of Jesus.
Freshly painted for the guest
The road markings shine white - they were freshly painted just yesterday. The US President was supposed to be driving along here, but the announced tour of the Church of the Nativity does not take place. "They paint the streets for Trump. They would never have done that for us," enthused a restaurant owner.
Even the zebra crossings were repainted for Trump's visit
Disappointment that Trump is only making a short stopover
Many Bethlehem residents also find it an affront that Trump visited the Western Wall but canceled the Church of the Nativity. The city has a majority Muslim population and a Christian minority of less than 30 percent - but they all had at least expected that. that Trump visits the famous church.
Almost no one here believes that the incumbent US president will mediate or even create peace. "Trump will not change anything, all US presidents are the same," believes Khaled Ahmad, owner of a souvenir shop. Another seller agrees: "The Americans support the Israelis, not us". A Palestinian journalist, who does not want to be named, thinks that Trump does not speak enough to the Palestinians themselves: "He wants to involve the Arab neighbors, but that is not good for us. The other conflicts in this region have nothing to do with us do. I have no hopes at all. "
Donald Trump meets Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas
Many Palestinians accuse Trump of partiality
According to the Middle East expert of the Israeli broadcaster i24, Mohammad Alkassim, the Palestinians are divided on Trump: "The visit to the Western Wall surprised many people negatively, but nevertheless some are cautiously optimistic. Because the mere fact that Trump is coming here already implies that he recognizes the sovereignty of the Palestinians in the West Bank ". Hamas, however, sees it differently. To Trump's speech in Riyadh, in which the US President described Hamas as a terrorist organization, the spokesman replied: "That shows the American bias in favor of the Zionist occupation."
The sober mood among the residents of Bethlehem is also reflected in the streetscape. The city is hardly festively decorated - there is no trace of American flags such as those seen in Jerusalem. Only a large greeting poster is hung on the access road. The inscription, "The City of Peace welcomes the Man of Peace" sounds a bit cynical. The access road from Jerusalem to Bethlehem is heavily guarded at the entrance to the city. Heavily armed Palestinian police officers are standing every few meters, and vehicles are checked at several checkpoints. The Palestinian Authority gathered around 2,000 emergency services for the visit.
Hunger strike against better prison conditions
Some in the Manger Square speculate that Trump did not want to visit the Church of the Nativity because there were no good photos. Because in solidarity with Palestinian prisoners in Israel, a demonstration is taking place in front of the church - with a photo wall, posters, and a large doll in a cage. An estimated 100 demonstrators have come, including women and mothers of the inmates. They are demanding better opportunities to visit the prisons and more phone calls to prisoners. "My husband has been in the Israeli prison for 24 years," said Samira Salahat, a protester. "The Israelis say he's a terrorist, but he just threw stones."
Protests in front of the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem
On Monday the Palestinian Commission for Prisoners' Affairs called for a general strike in solidarity with the prisoners. On Tuesday, the same organization called for a "Day of Wrath" so that US President Trump would "hear the prisoners' voice." Even if an agreement is reached on the strike, that doesn't mean Abbas and Netanyahu will sit down. And whether Abbas presented the US President with the letter that the prisoners' families had given him for Trump - this detail, too, remains doubtful.
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