Arab Scouts to Skip Trump Event After Police Demand Removal of Their Palestinian-flag Emblems

Arab Orthodox troop leader: 'Flag is not simply an item on a uniform: It's part of who we are'

US President Donald Trump speaks during welcome ceremony in Tel Aviv, Monday, May 22,2017. Seated from the right, Sara Netanyahu, U.S. First Lady Melania Trump, Israel's First Lady Nechama Rivlin, Israel's President Rueben Rivlin and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Christian Arab scouts who were supposed to accompany U.S. President Donald Trump on his visit to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem Monday afternoon backed out at the last minute after Israeli Police demanded that they remove emblems of the Palestinian flag from their uniforms.

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According to Mousa Jarjoui, president of the Jerusalem Arab Orthodox Scouts Club, 50 members of the troop had been invited to perform a song and dance for Trump outside the Old City church, one of Christianity’s holiest sites.

“We did not agree, however, to remove the Palestinian flag from our uniforms,” he said. “Because we were concerned about the safety of our scouts, following this disagreement with the police, we decided together with members of the Trump administration that we would not participate in this event.”

Christian worshippers take part in a Sunday Easter mass procession in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem's Old City, April 16, 2017.

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Jarjoui said that the city's Arab Orthodox scouts always wear the Palestinian flag on their uniform. “This club has been in Jerusalem since before the creation of Israel,” he explained, “and thus the flag is not simply an item on a uniform: It is part of who were are.”

President Trump was due to be greeted at the Holy Sepulchre, where Christians believe Jesus Christ was buried and later resurrected, by the heads of the various churches in Jerusalem.