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Arab Orthodox scouts barred from greeting Trump in Jerusalem's Old City

May 22, 2017 6:34 P.M. (Updated: May 22, 2017 6:42 P.M.)
The Arab Orthodox Union scouts of Jerusalem
BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) -- The Arab Orthodox Union scouts of Jerusalem were barred from accompanying US President Donald Trump into the Church of the Holy Sepulcher in occupied East Jerusalem’s Old City on Monday because of the Palestinian flag on their costumes, according to the Arab Orthodox Union Club.

The club said in a statement Monday, as Trump launched his two-day visit to Israel and the occupied Palestinian territory, that the district head of the Israeli police “was adamant” that the scouts “not even get near the Old City” because of the flags on the their costumes.

According to the statement, the scouts had been asked by the Trump team to stage a parade in the Old City and accompany the US president into the church. Their participation was also approved in person by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.

The union club said that extensive deliberations were conducted over the past two days, when “all pertinent details” -- including the scout’s costumes, flags, and instruments -- were agreed upon with the Americans.

However, after the phone call from the head of district police, the Arab Orhtodox Union Club consulted with Trump’s team, who “were worried about the safety of the kids” in the event of a confrontation with police, and “it was agreed that the scout’s participation would be cancelled.”

“The Arab Orthodox Union Club and its scouts have been in Jerusalem since before the creation of Israel, and this the flag is not simply an item on a uniform; it is apart of who we are,” the statement concluded.

The incident came after a request by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to accompany Trump to Western Wall in the Old City of occupied East Jeruslaem was refused, when a senior member of the US delegation making preparations for Trump’s visit said that the Western Wall is “not your territory. It’s part of the West Bank.”
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