Bethlehem tolerance walk cancelled due to protests

By Jennifer Lipman, October 3, 2012

Palestinian activists have pressured the organisers of a walk in Bethlehem intended to promote tolerance to cancel it at the last minute.

A silent walk had been planned for Friday in the West Bank city, and was due to bring together Israelis and Palestinians amid participants of all religions.

According to the organisers, its purpose was to "sow the seeds of understanding and acceptance" and bring communities closer together. Describing it as "an event of solidarity for peace", organiser Iris Dotan Katz wrote on the publicity material: "This event is for everybody… We all want to live in peace and harmony. We recognise that we all have the same basic needs for equal rights and deserve the same respect and dignity."

But according to the Jerusalem Post, Palestinian protesters in the city complained that the inclusion of Israelis in the group meant it was encouraging "normali s ation" with the Jewish state and should not go ahead. The newspaper said the walk would no longer go ahead.

Earlier this year a concert by Daniel Barenboim's West-East Divan orchestra, which seeks to bring together Arab and Israeli performers, was cancelled after supporters of a cultural boycott of Israel raised objections.

Last updated: 5:32pm, October 3 2012