US President Barack Obama arrived in Ramallah by helicopter yesterday and gave yet another insipid speech. The Palestinian Authority’s security forces, collaborating with US forces, designated a huge security perimeter with the PA compound — the Muqataa — in the middle. Some of the city’s busiest streets were closed off and inaccessible to those not living there. As helicopters filled the skies from the morning up until late afternoon, I was stuck at home working during the nine-hour lockdown, all too aware of the soldiers stationed on the rooftops around my building.
Protestors tried to march from Manara Square in the city center to the Muqataa yet again yesterday morning, but were stopped by hundreds of policemen and riot guards. The speech Obama gave at the compound was not littered with Arabic phrases (a speech he delivered the previous day was littered with Hebrew phrases) and gave the usual empty and irrational rhetoric of the US supporting an independent sovereign Palestinian state alongside a Jewish state that will only come into fruition through direct negotiations with Israel. more