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Conference participant who criticized Abbas beaten by PA Minister’s bodyguards

Headline: “At the BDS conference [held] in Bethlehem University - a verbal confrontation; Finance Minister walks out and a young activist is beaten”
     “Participants in the Fourth National BDS (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions) Conference, that convened yesterday [June 8, 2013] at Bethlehem University, advocated upgrading the boycott and divestment campaign against Israel to an effective popular and civil resistance strategy. A verbal conflict broke out during the conference resulting in [PA] Finance Minister, Jawad Naji walking out. At the end of the discussions, an activist was beaten.
The participants demanded that society’s different groups contribute in a practical way to spreading and strengthening the culture of boycott and resistance to normalization… especially regarding all matters related to severing all ties with the occupation state and urging international institutions and bodies to end the plot to prolong the occupation and Israeli apartheid against our people. In addition, the role of the national boycott committee as the Palestinian source of authority for the BDS Movement was established …
In his speech, activist Alaa Mahana from the territories occupied in 1948 (i.e., Israel) repeated a position opposing the mandatory draft forced on the Druze community. He said that resistance to the draft is on the rise and that eventually the mandatory draft law will be thwarted…
As part of his answer to participants’ questions and comments [PA Finance Minister] Naji emphasized that the national campaign and ban against Israeli settlement products continues. He called on all groups in society to take an active role in this campaign in order to cleanse the Palestinian markets of these products.
In response to a confrontation with one of the participants, a Ministry of Finance statement said yesterday [June 8, 2013]:
‘Statements made by one of the participants included an attack and strong criticism of Palestinian leadership and the PLO. He described them with inappropriate nicknames, attacked President Mahmoud Abbas personally and uttered lies and fabrications which harm higher national interests and which do not serve the national campaign but rather [serve] the Israeli occupation, something the Minister absolutely opposed.’
The statement further read: ‘Minister Naji left the conference hall after answering participants’ questions and [responding to] statements and after the agenda determined for the meeting had been completed.’
The statement said: ‘We received reports from several news sites that one of the participants was beaten by the Minister’s bodyguards. We unequivocally deny this unfounded lie.’”

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