Palestinian protesters, some festively dressed as Santa Claus, have clashed with Israeli security forces in Bethlehem, a day before the beginning of Christmas celebrations in the West Bank city revered as the birthplace of Jesus.
Holding Palestinian flags, the demonstrators, who gathered at Israeli military tower to protest against US President Donald Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, were pushed by the soldiers who also used stun grenades and tear gas to disperse the protest.
There have been regular protests by Palestinians and pro-Palestinian groups across the Middle East since Mr Trump announced his decision to move the US embassy to Jerusalem earlier this month.
Defying the United States on Thursday, the UN General Assembly approved a resolution calling for the United States to drop its December 6 recognition of Jerusalem, a city revered by Jews, Muslims and Christians, as Israel’s capital.
Resident of Bethlehem Mohammad Al-lahham said the Santa costumes were worn to send a message to Palestinian children.
“Our message is a message to the children of Palestine, that Papa Noel (Santa Claus) comes to the displaced and suffering people to give the gifts children of Palestine are deprived of,” he said.
“Today we are dressed like Papa Noel to give gift which is the resistance on our land.
“A message to the children of Palestine is that we are on the path to freedom, to [get] Jerusalem. Papa Noel distributes gifts and the occupation distributes bombs today. These are the bombs that the Israeli occupation is distributing today, at Christmas.”
Mr Trump’s announcement broke a longstanding international consensus, that the fate of Jerusalem be decided as a part of a peace deal between Israel and Palestinians.
Israeli and Palestinian claims to the city’s eastern sector form the core of their conflict, and Mr Trump’s announcement was seen as siding with the Israelis.
Source: ABC Net