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Indignant Palestinian shoemaker marks his wares with names of Trump and Macron

Imad Mohammad explains that putting someone’s name on shoes, which get dirty, shows ‘how you value that person’; demands US, French citizens apologize before entering his shop

Palestinian shoemaker Imad Mohammad displays his handcrafted footwear stamped with the names of the US and french Presidents in Arabic calligraphy, at his shop in the West Bank city of Ramallah, on October 30, 2020. (Abbas Momani/AFP)
Palestinian shoemaker Imad Mohammad displays his handcrafted footwear stamped with the names of the US and french Presidents in Arabic calligraphy, at his shop in the West Bank city of Ramallah, on October 30, 2020. (Abbas Momani/AFP)

RAMALLAH, West Bank — Palestinian shoemaker Imad Mohammad makes handcrafted footwear with a difference: they are stamped with the names of the US and French presidents in Arabic calligraphy to show his disapproval of them.

“Shoes touch the ground, dust and dirt. So if we write someone’s name on them and that also gets dirty, then it shows… how you value that person,” Mohammad told AFP.

He said he chose to stamp the name of US President Donald Trump and French President Emmanuel Macron on the shoes he crafts because they “assaulted our people.”

Initially the mustachioed shoemaker, who has a shop in the West Bank city of Ramallah, launched a line dedicated to Trump.

Palestinian shoemaker Imad Mohammad displays his handcrafted footwear stamped with the names of the US and french Presidents in Arabic calligraphy, at his shop in the West Bank city of Ramallah, on October 30, 2020. (Abbas Momani/AFP)

That was after Trump moved the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem in May 2018, delighting Israel and putting the United States at odds with most of the international community.

Trump’s move, a year after he recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, infuriated the Palestinians who hope to have their own state with East Jerusalem as its capital.

The shoes bearing the US president’s name cost 200 shekels (about $50) and are made of “genuine leather inside and outside, and are more genuine than him,” said Mohammad.

This week the shoemaker embarked on a new project fueled by Muslim anger over Macron’s defense of the publication of cartoons depicting the Prophet Mohammed on free speech grounds.

Apologies sought

“Why, Macron, did you attack a prophet who died 1,500 years ago?” said Mohammad, who accused the French leader of seeking to “insult Muslims.”

“And I, as a Muslim, reject this contempt and reject this offense,” he added, demanding an apology from Macron.

“The apology is for my people because the insult was against my people… and my Islamic nation,” he said.

Palestinians step on pictures of French President Emmanuel Macron during a demonstration against him at the Palestine Technical University in al-Aroub, north of the West Bank city of Hebron, on October 27, 2020. (Hazem Bader/AFP)

Any US and French clients who enter the Ramallah shop are greeted with signs demanding they too apologize for the words and deeds of their presidents.

The French are told they can only enter if they apologize for Macron’s statements.

Palestinian shoemaker Imad Mohammad displays his handcrafted footwear stamped with the names of the US and french Presidents in Arabic calligraphy, at his shop in the West Bank city of Ramallah, on October 30, 2020. (Abbas Momani/AFP)

American customers are asked to seek forgiveness for Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem and the embassy move.

But Mohammad said he is willing to remove that last poster should Trump challenger Joe Biden win Tuesday’s US presidential election and “rescind” Trump’s policies.

“I will not remove the demand for an apology from the Americans unless America’s decision [to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital] is canceled. If Biden rescinds the decision, I will remove the sign and I will be happy,” he said.

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