US scraps West Bank conference over Palestinian protests

US scraps West Bank conference over Palestinian protests

RAMALLAH (Rahnuma) The US Embassy in Jerusalem on Monday was forced to postpone a conference it organized in the West Bank city of Ramallah after Palestinian officials and factions called for a boycott and threatened to organize protests.

The Palestinians cut all ties with the US after it recognized disputed Jerusalem as the capital of Israel in 2017, and view the Trump administration as unfairly biased following a series of actions seen as hostile to their aspirations for an independent state.

The embassy had organized a conference this week to bring together alumni of US educational and cultural programs, including dozens of Palestinians from the Gaza Strip who received permission from Israel to attend.
The territory has been under an Israeli-Egyptian blockade since Hamas seized power there in 2007.

The Palestinian leadership viewed the conference as an attempt to circumvent its boycott of the US administration.

“We are aware of recent statements regarding a planned event for alumni of US educational and cultural programs,” the US Embassy said. “In order to avoid the Palestinian participants being put in a difficult situation, we have decided to postpone the event for now.”

It said this and other events “are designed to create opportunities for exchange and dialogue between Americans and Palestinians at the grassroots level.”

“This event in particular is intended to give alumni of all ages and backgrounds from Jerusalem, the West Bank and Gaza an opportunity to network with each other and to engage in leadership and capacity building activities,” it said.

Israel captured east Jerusalem, the West Bank and Gaza in the 1967 Middle East War, territories the Palestinians want for their future state. The Trump administration is at work on a long-awaited peace plan, but has not endorsed a two-state solution to the conflict. The Palestinians have already dismissed the plan, saying it is certain to be slanted toward Israel.

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