Tunisian protesters criticize Israel, support the Palestinians

TUNIS, Tunisia – Dozens of pro-Palestinian protesters have staged a protest in the Tunisian capital against Israel and its policies towards the Palestinians.

Saturday's protest was held outside the Ministry of Tourism. The tourism minister appointed by the country is Jewish, which is unusual in this Muslim-majority country.

Protesters are angry about Israeli settlements and are demanding a Palestinian state. The crowd included leftist groups pushing a law that would have made it a crime to normalize relations with Israel.

The Tunisian government has downplayed the proposed law and the moderate Islamist party Ennahdha has warned that such a bill could damage Tunisia's relations with Western nations and international organizations. Tunisia, like most of the Arab countries, has no 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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