U.S. News Crew Says Israeli Soldiers Tear Gassed Them at anti-Trump West Bank Protest

Palestinians burned portraits of Trump as they protested in both the Gaza Strip and the West Bank on Monday against U.S.-led plans for a conference on their economy in Bahrain

Israeli border police use teargas to disperse Palestinian protesters during a rally against the American-led Mideast peace conference, near the settlement of Beit El, at the outskirts of the West Bank city of Ramallah Tuesday, June 25, 2019
AP Photo/Nasser Nasser

Palestinians burned portraits of U.S. President Donald Trump as they protested in both the Gaza Strip and the West Bank on Monday against U.S.-led plans for a conference on their economy in Bahrain.

Many Palestinian business groups have said they will boycott the June 25-26 event, billed as part of Washington's long-awaited Israeli-Palestinian peace plan and spearheaded by Trump's adviser and son-in-law Jared Kushner.

"Down with Bahrain, down with Trump, down with the Manama conference," chanted crowds in Gaza, which is ruled by the armed Islamist group Hamas. Some burned large paintings of Trump marked with the words: "Deal of the devil".

In the West Bank on the outskirts of Ramallah, where a small crowd of protesters was dispersed by Israeli troops firing tear gas, Palestinian lawmaker Mustafa Barghouti said: "There can be no economic solution as a substitute for our freedom." 

PBS journalist Jane Ferguson reported that she and her crew were among those tear gassed by Israeli troops. Ferguson wrote on Twitter, "Rough day reporting for the @NewsHour in the #WestBank today. #Israeli Forces gased the press covering a small protest nearby. Then they gased us as we tried to drive away."

The workshop is being held in Bahrain, home of the U.S. Navy's Fifth Fleet, at a time of heightened tension between Tehran and Washington and its Gulf allies. Trump on Monday imposed sanctions on Iran's Supreme Leader and other officials after Iran downed an U.S. drone last week.

Palestinian leaders have boycotted the conference, and are refusing to engage with the White House - accusing it of pro-Israel bias. Breaking with international convention, Trump in 2017 recognised disputed Jerusalem as Israel's capital - a move that infuriated the Palestinians and other Arabs.

Seven Palestinian businessmen gathered in the lobby of the Four Seasons hotel, the conference venue. They estimated that 15 to 20 Palestinian business representatives would be present

"The politicians will not bring us anywhere," said conference attendee Shlomi Fogel, an Israeli entrepreneur. "We, the business people, should be able to show them there might be another way."