Westerners often refer to Ramallah as a modern and liberal city dominated by Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas’s Fatah faction. The city boasts fancy restaurants and bars where alcohol is served freely to men and women in Western dress, who sit together to eat and to smoke water pipes (nargilas).
But the scenes on the streets of Ramallah, headquarters of Abbas’s Palestinian Authority (PA) last week broadcast a rather different message — one that calls for the elimination of Israel. The message came on the eve of Abbas’s visit to the White House for his first meeting with US President Donald Trump.
According to PA officials, Abbas is scheduled to affirm during the meeting with Trump his commitment to the two-state solution and a “comprehensive and just peace” with Israel.
As Abbas and his advisors prepare for the May 3 meeting with Trump, however, thousands of Palestinians gathered in Ramallah to call on Arab armies to “liberate Palestine, from the (Jordan) river to the (Mediterranean) sea.” The Palestinians also called for replacing Israel with an Islamic Caliphate.
The call for the elimination of Israel was made in the center of Ramallah, only a few hundred meters away from Abbas’s office. It came during a rally organized by Hizb ut Tahrir (Party of Liberation), a radical pan-Islamic political organization whose goal is the re-establishment of the Islamic Caliphate, or Islamic state. Like the terrorist group ISIS, Hizb ut Tahrir seeks to establish a state to enforce Islamic sharia law and carrying the da’wah (preaching) of Islam to the rest of the world.
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