Palestinian demonstrators in Hebron confronting members of the
Palestinian Authority’s security forces during a protest against
the Annapolis meeting (Naif Hashlamon for Reuters, November 27)
Protests in Judea and Samaria
1. The PA’s security forces used force to disperse a series of protest demonstrations against the Annapolis meeting. They were instigated by Hamas (which kept a low profile), the Islamic Liberation Party and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine . The Palestinian security forces deployed to disperse before the demonstrations began, following a decision by the Palestinian government in Ramallah to prevent people from congregating and demonstrating because of the Annapolis meeting.
2. The Islamic Liberation Party, which played a central role in the demonstrations, is a radical Islamic organization which operates in both the PA-administered territories and Arab-Muslim communities around the world. Its main support in the PA is located in Hebron and the Jerusalem-Ramallah sector. Its objective is to reestablish the Caliphate (which Ataturk ended in 1924), and its activities are both covert and overt in the PA, although it does not involve itself in terrorist activities. 2
Invitation sent by the Liberation Party to participate in parades protesting the Annapolis meeting in Ramallah, Bethlehem, Hebron, Jenin and Gaza City to express the opposition of the Islamic nation to the "cursed conference” and the "contempt of the rulers [i.e., Abu Mazen and the PA] for the land of Palestine.” According to the invitation, there will be many participants and the parades will be non-violent (Website of the Liberation Party). 3
3. The most conspicuous protests were held in Hebron , Ramallah, Nablus , Bethlehem and Jenin:
1) Hebron : The Palestinian security forces used force to disperse a mass demonstration organized by the Liberation Party. A demonstrator was killed and several dozen demonstrators and security personnel were injured. The Liberation Party and the Palestinian police in Hebron traded accusations as to who was responsible for the demonstrator’s death.
Demonstration in Hebron
(Naif Hashlamon for Reuters, November 27).
2) Ramallah : The Palestinian security forces dispersed a demonstration held in the center of the city by the National and Islamic Forces. A senior Hamas activist in the West Bank , sheikh Faraj Rumanah, was detained during the demonstration and later released. The police prevented a parade organized by the Liberation Party from being held.
Demonstration in Ramallah (Al-Ayyam, November 28).
3) Nablus : Hundreds of civilians participated in a demonstration organized by the Popular Front, the Democratic Front, the People’s Party and other groups. They expressed their rejection of the Annapolis meeting and warned against any waiving of "the right to return.” The security forces also dispersed a procession which was organized by the Liberation Party and set to leave from Nablus ‘s main mosque.
4) Bethlehem : The police dispersed a demonstration opposing the Annapolis meeting organized by the Liberation Party. A few dozen people attended. The security forces detained a number of Liberation Party activists.
The Gaza Strip
A mass rally in Gaza City
4. Hamas and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad held a rally in Gaza City to protest the Annapolis meeting attended, according to the Palestinian media, by hundreds of thousands of demonstrators. Senior Hamas and PIJ activists who spoke at the rally emphasized adherence to "the right to return,” the liberation of Jerusalem and Islam’s holy places, not ceding one inch of Palestine land and "the path of resistance and jihad” (i.e. terrorism).
Cartoon published in the Hamas-affiliated newspaper Felesteen : "Summing up the Annapolis meeting.” Olmert (center) holds a doc reading "Plan to invade Gaza ,” while the embarrassed Palestinian leaves the meeting ( Felesteen , November 28).
Terrorist attacks during the meeting
5. During the meeting (November 27) five rockets and four mortar shells were fired at western Negev settlements. One of the mortar shells fell close to Kerem Shalom. There were no casualties and no damage to property. Responsibility for some of the attacks was claimed by the Popular Resistance Committees, which previously stated their intention to focus their attacks during the meeting. The attacks on November 27 were no more numerous than the routine of the past few weeks. In response the Israeli Air Force struck a Hamas position in the southern Gaza strip.
6. A spokesman for the Iranian government said that representatives of ten Palestinian organizations were expected to arrive in Tehran in the coming days to hold a convention rejecting the Annapolis meeting (Fars News Agency, November 27). Palestinian sources in Damascus said that Mussa Abu Marzuq, deputy head of Hamas’ political bureau had arrived in Tehran on November 27. The sources added that other leaders were expected to arrive, among them senior PIJ figures and Ahmad Jibril, the head of the Popular Front – General Command (PFLP-GC), (Syria Life Website, November 27).
7. In the Palestinian refugee camps Al-Badawi in north Lebanon and Ain al-Hilweh in the south there were demonstrations protesting the Annapolis meeting. They were organized by the PFLP-GC, the Democratic Front and the Palestinian Liberation Front. The demonstrators said they were firm in their adherence to "the right to return” and that " Palestine could only be liberated with guns.”
8. The issue of the election of a new president continues to top Lebanon ‘s political agenda. For that reason, and in view of Syria ‘s participation in the Annapolis meeting, so far Hezbollah has contented itself with issuing statements condemning Lebanon ‘s participation in Annapolis , but has not initiated broad protest actions against the Lebanese government on that account.
1 Follow-up of the Bulletin issued November 27, 2007.
2 For further information see our August 26, 2007 Bulletin entitled "The Islamic Liberation Party recently held mass rallies in Al-Bireh and other cities in the Palestinian Authority”