As the Palestinian President, Mahmoud Abbas, welcomed the Greek president, Karolos Papoulias, in the central West Bank city of Ramallah, dozens of Palestinians protested the visit to express rejection to Greek Authorities decision that prevented the Freedom Flotilla 2 from sailing to Gaza via Greek ports.The protesters started their march from Al Manara Square in the center of Ramallah, carrying Palestinian flags and posters denouncing the visit, and demanding Abbas not to welcome him in the city due to the stances of his government.
Papoulias first visited Tel Aviv before heading to Ramallah in an official visit to President Abbas. He received an official welcome ceremony.
The protest was organized by an internet youth group that called for expelling Papoulias from the Palestinian territories for “his disgraceful stances”.
One of the protesters said she was protesting against Papoulias “for bowing to pressures by Zionist groups to prevent the Freedom Flotilla 2 humanitarian convoy from sailing to Gaza”.
Another protester carried a sign stating “You Are Not Welcome In Palestine”, and said that she and all other protestors are in the streets of Ramallah to demand
Papoulias to apologize, and added; “the shameful stances of Papoulias violate all international and humanitarian laws”.
Jamil, one of the organizers of the protest, said that this move came to express the Palestinian rejection to welcoming Papoulias in Ramallah, “as he is responsible for preventing the transfer of medical and humanitarian supplies to more than 1.5 million Palestinians living and siege in Gaza”.
The Palestine New & Info Agency, run by the Palestinian Authority in Ramallah, reported that Abbas told Papoulias that the P.A insists on its decision to head to the United Nations this coming September to demand statehood recognition, should peace talks with Israel fail to advance.
Abbas said that the peace process is facing numerous obstacles due to Israeli violations and illegal measures, such as ongoing illegal construction and expansion of settlements.
“Such acts and violations delegitimize the peace process, therefore we are asking the International Community to act and ensure the process advances towards a comprehensive peace based on a two-state solution”, Abbas said.