Palestinians Put Trump's Face on Coffin, Set It Aflame

Palestinians burn coffin with face of Donald Trump at protest / Jason Greenblatt, Twitter
January 11, 2019

Palestinians burned an image of President Donald Trump at a political rally in early January, drawing condemnation from the White House.

The incident took place at a rally celebrating the 54th anniversary of Fatah, the largest party in the coalition governing the Palestinian Authority.

During the event, a coffin featuring the faces of Trump and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was set on fire, according to a Palestinian Media Watch report. A slogan on the side warned that "The deal of the century will not pass, to hell with it and good riddance," in apparent reference to Trump calling a successful peace proposal between the various parties the "deal of the century."

In addition to the coffin fire, the Palestinian event included speeches from political leaders. Mahmoud al-Aloul, deputy chairman of Fatah, addressed the audience, praising Fatah's record of violence as a means to "liberation." Al-Aloul also praised Palestinian terror activities responsible for scores of civilian deaths, according to statements released in an official PA daily. Hpraised the terror attacks and the Palestinian waves of violence and terror against Israel (the intifadas) as 'accomplishments' of Fatah’s 'self-sacrificing fighters,' and 'battles of honor,' which have 'brought glory to the nation," PMW's Itamar Marcus and Nan Jacques Zilberdik reported.

Al-Aloul is widely expected to succeed current current PA President Mahmoud Abbas. Abbas is 82 years old, reportedly in poor health, and in the 15th year of his four-year term.

Al-Aloul attended another rally involving the burning in effigy of the U.S. president in July 2018. The event included a figurine in a pinstripe suit with a cutout of Trump's head suspended from a pole, which was then set aflame.

The coffin at the Palestinian event was lit on fire. Though unusual on a coffin, fire is common at PA events. Protests often involve torches or flags and effigies set aflame. In January, protestors set a poster of Vice President Mike Pence on fire. These demonstrations are often documented and shared on social media:

The coffin stunt drew condemnation from the White House. On Thursday, Jason Greenblatt, the president's special representative for international negotiations, shared a screenshot of the cheering throngs around the coffin, calling the spectacle "[d]isgraceful & disgusting."

Greenblatt warned that Palestinian leadership would need "to get serious" about supporting its people, rather than agitating against foreign powers.

The rebuke comes at a moment of resumed American scrutiny of Palestinian conduct in the context of the wider conflict. The White House is currently working on a peace proposal to resolve the Arab-Israeli conflict, with affected parties anticipating its release in early 2019.