On Wednesday, the municipality of Bethlehem removed a stone monument to Palestine's historic map situated at the entrance to the city ahead of US president Barak Obama's visit.
Criticizing the move, the spokesman for the Palestinian government in Gaza, Ther al-Nono said: "The removal of the stone monument to Palestine's historic map is a shameful form of political recklessness." Witnesses said that, in addition, workers at the Bethlehem Municipality also uprooted olive trees. The move raised the ire of a group of Palestinian youths who returned the map to its place.
Obama arrived today [Wednesday] morning in Israel in a three-day visit to Israel and the occupied West Bank. After meeting Israeli leaders, he is set to meet Palestinian Authority President, Mahmoud Abbas, and the Palestinian Prime Minister, Salam Fayyad.
Welcoming Obama in the West Bank, the Palestinian Authority raised pasted his photos on walls and billboards around the West Bank cities. However, Palestinian youths defaced them and threw shoes at American vehicles.
Meanwhile, the Islamic Jehad leader in Gaza, Khalid al-Batsh, criticized Obama's refusal to include a visit to the tomb of the late Palestinian president, Yasser Arafat, in Ramallah. "This shows how this man is blackmailed by Zionists," he wrote on his Facebook wall.