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Middle East - photoreport

A day of anger over Gaza in Ramallah

by Tony Cross

Article published on the 2009-01-16 Latest update 2009-01-25 16:59 TU

(Photo: RFI/Tony Cross)

(Photo: RFI/Tony Cross)

On the third Friday since the start of the offensive on Gaza, Palestinians on the West Bank again joined protests for a “day of anger” against the Israeli military operation. This week’s were relatively peaceful, compared to previous protests when Palestinian police clashed with supporters of the Islamic movement Hamas. But there was anger with Israel and world leaders, and calls to return to an armed struggle.
 

A day of anger in Ramallah

16/01/2009 by Tony Cross

(Photo: RFI/Tony Cross)
Palestinian police in central Ramallah wait for the streets to fill with demonstrators after Friday Muslim prayers.
 
It’s the “day of anger” declared by Hamas after their Gaza stronghold was bombed and then invaded by the Israeli military.
 
(Photo: RFI/Tony Cross)
Local people are shocked by the death and destruction and feel that their leaders and the rest of the world have failed to defend the Palestinians.
 
Faisal is a member of President Mahmud Abbas’s Fatah, who spent 12 years in Israeli jails. But his faith in his leaders has been shaken. Like Hamas, he points out that Abbas should have stood for re-election on 9 January and he thinks that the Palestinian National Authority should be disbanded and armed struggle resumed.
 
(Photo: RFI/Tony Cross)
The faithful gather for prayers at Djamal Abdel Nasser Mosque.
 
 
(Photo: RFI/Tony Cross)
Women and men pray separately - some inside, some in the street.
 
In his sermon, the Imam angrily denounces the UN for not forcing Israel to obey its resolution calling for a ceasefire.
(Photo: RFI/Tony Cross)
“And the Islamic nations watch and do nothing,” he says, calling on Muslims all over the world to oppose the occupation of Palestinian territories.
 
(Photo: RFI/Tony Cross)
A crowd assembles outside the mosque. Some brandish placards denouncing the loss of life.
 
(Photo: RFI/Tony Cross)
Others raise the flag of the Hamas movement, which controlled Gaza, but their own party tells them to take them down for fear of beatings at the hands of the Palestinian police.
 
(Photo: RFI/Tony Cross)
The demonstration splits in two. Everyone is heading for the town’s main square but Hamas supporters go down one street, others go down a different one.
 
Chanting demonstrators.(Photo: RFI/Tony Cross)
A crowd of women shout slogans swearing to avenge Gaza Interior Minister Saaed Syaam, who was killed yesterday, and call on Hamas to shoot rockets at Tel Aviv.
 
Abbas still has some supporters and others think that unity is more important than the choice of leader.
 
(Photo: RFI/Tony Cross)
As left-wing supporters of Mustafa Barghouti’s Palestinian National Initiative shout praise for Venezuelan leader Hugo Chavez, who has broken diplomatic ties with Israel, the demonstration disperses.
 
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon predicts there will soon be a ceasefire. Here there is little hope of an end to the long-term conflict.
 
(Photo: RFI/Tony Cross)
At Kalandiya checkpoint, between Ramallah and Jerusalem, Israeli soldiers stand guard and control everyone trying to cross into their side.