Tunisian protesters criticize Israel, support Palestinians

A Tunisian holds anti-Israel posters reading "Tunisia is Free, Sionists out" outside the Tunisian Tourism Ministry in Tunis, Saturday, Dec.8, 2018. Rene Trabelsi, a Jew, has been recently named Tunisian tourism minister, a first in more than 50 years. (AP Photo/Hassene Dridi)

TUNIS, Tunisia (AP) — Dozens of pro-Palestinian demonstrators have staged a protest in Tunisia’s capital against Israel and its policies toward the Palestinians.

The protest on Saturday was held outside the Tourism Ministry. The country’s named tourism minister is Jewish, which is unusual in this majority Muslim country.

The protesters are angry about Israeli settlements and call for a Palestinian state. The crowd included left-wing groups pushing a law that would make it a crime to normalize relations with Israel.

Tunisia’s government has downplayed the proposed law, and moderate Islamist party Ennahdha warned such a bill could hurt Tunisia’s relations with Western nations and international organizations. Tunisia, like most Arab countries, doesn’t have diplomatic relations with Israel.

It is seen as a model of tolerance in the region but has faced growing Islamic extremism.

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