PA's pre-UN bid celebrations heat up as hundreds of Palestinians clash with security forces in West Bank. Israeli baby hurt during clashes.
Palestinian Authority launches official statehood celebrations across West Bank cities despite UN bid's somewhat ambiguous future.
Hundreds of Palestinians clashed with Israeli security forces in several locations in the West Bank on Wednesday, as the Palestinian Authority launched its official statehood celebrations across West Bank cities.
A 16-month-old Israeli baby suffered light injuries when a stone struck her head in a riot between Tapuah and Migdalim junctions. She was taken to Schneider Hospital in Petah Tikva. Three Palestinians were arrested during clashes, and an Israeli citizen was lightly injured from stones hurled at him while he was travelling near the West Bank city of Halhul.
Around 40 Palestinians clashed with IDF forces near Beit Omar, and dozens of others rioted near the Qalandiya checkpoint. Some rioters set tires on fire and stoned security forces, who used crowd-control measures to control the scene, including sonic cannons and tear gas.
In another incident, some 200 Palestinians rioted near Zif Junction, east of Hebron. Demonstrators stoned security forces, who used crowd-control measures there, as well.
The Palestinian Authority issued several statements urging West Bank Palestinians to avoid clashing with the Israeli security forces.
Israel however, is gearing for the possibility that Palestinian rallies will turn into violent riots. The IDF Central Command has been placed on high alert, including the mobilization and deployment of extra forces in the sector.
Israel security forces have been instructed to use the proper discretion to avoid any loss of life. Palestinian security forces are also on high alert and have instructed all rallies be held in Palestinian Area A – which in under their full control – in order to avoid any friction with IDF forces or West Bank settlers.
Palestinians celebrate UN statehood bid-
RAMALLAH – With the clock ticking down to the PA's statehood bidat the UN, the masses in Ramallah can no longer contain their excitement prompting the Palestinian Authority to officially launch its independence celebrations on Wednesday. Thousands of Palestinians flocked to central Ramallah ahead of a mass march planned in the city, which is the seat of the Palestinian Authority's leadership. Similar marches and rallies will be held in all major Palestinian cities in the West Bank throughout the week.
The Palestinian Authority decided to launch the celebration despite the bid's somewhat ambiguous future. Palestinian security forces have been deployed across the West Bank, pledging to maintain the order. "This is the final stretch. Everything is ready. All that is left now is for us to fly the flags," Muhammad Azzadin of the Palestinian Infrastructure Ministry told Ynet. "Our dream is becoming a reality, we will have a state," banners hung above Ramallah's main highway read.
Across from late PLO Chairman Yasser Arafat's tomb at the Mukataa in Ramallah, the Palestinians have prepared a special plaza, where they hope to hold the official celebrations, should their statehood bid be accepted. "We are all very excited," Azzadin added. "Just like you Israelis wanted an independent state, so do we," he told Ynet.
Thousands of Palestinian gathered in the Clock square in Ramallah – which is second to the city's Manara square – for a celebratory rally: The Palestinian various governmental institutions and schools declared Wednesday a half-day, so to allow people to attend the rallies, and various speakers stated their support for UN bid.
"We chose to turn to the UN after all the other options failed," PA Secretary General Tayeb Abdelrahim told the cheering crowds. "Our message to our leaders, Mahmoud Abbas and Yasser Arafat, is: The people support you. The Palestinian state will be formed within the 1967 lines and Jerusalem will be its capital." "The world must be just and smart and end the occupations… and make us the UN's 194th member," he continued. "The (new) state will abide by past agreements, but we refuse to negotiate for the sake of negotiating. The people want the two state solution – not an apartheid state.
"The Netanyahu and Lieberman government threatens to cut off our funds and annul deals, as if they had not broken them so many times before. There is a Palestinian partner (for peace) but there is no Israeli partner," Abdelrahim said.
Ramallah governor Laila Ghanam took the stage next. She too voiced her support for Abbas, and urged him to stand firm and submit the Palestinian statehood bid to the UN Security Council. The Palestinian people have a right to a country where they can realize their national goals, she said.
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