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Bethlehem Diaspora Convention launches

Oct. 1, 2016 3:41 P.M. (Updated: Oct. 2, 2016 8:54 P.M.)
BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) –The inaugural Bethlehem District Diaspora Convention launched on Saturday morning, a three-day convention that seeks to connect expatriates originating from Bethlehem with their homeland.

The event was held at the Bethlehem Convention Palace near the historic Solomon's Pools south of the city under the banner of "A Return to Roots,” attended by the Bethlehem district diaspora community.

Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas was scheduled to deliver a speech at the conference later on Saturday afternoon.

Eighty-five Palestinian expatriates from Bethlehem, Beit Jala, and Beit Sahour who reside abroad are to partake in three-day convention. They include residents of Chile, Peru, El Salvador, Honduras, Bolivia, Guatemala, Argentina, and the United States.

Palestinian Foreign Minister Riyad al-Maliki described the convention in a speech as “an opportunity to revive ties and relations between expatriates and their families.”

He added the ministry would send exploratory missions to Peru, Argentina, El Salvador, and Guatemala to brief Palestinians living there about investment opportunities in Palestine.

Bethlehem Mayor Vera Baboun said her city would have a bright future thanks to efforts by the city’s expatriate community, while Beit Jala’s mayor William Shaer highlighted the seizure of Palestinian land in Beit Jala as a result of the construction of Israel’s wall in the Cremisan Valley.

Palestinian expatriates from the Bethlehem district living in Latin American countries and the United States are believed to be the largest Palestinian communities among the global diaspora.

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