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Middle East

Demonstrators support Palestinian state bid

media Saturday's demonstration at Qalandiya checkpoint Reuters/Darren Whiteside

Hundreds of Palestinian and Israeli women demonstrated in support of the Palestinian demand for recognition at the UN at the Qalandiya checkpoint between Jerusalem and Ramallah on Saturday. Supporters of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas have called for more demonstrations before the bid is made on 23 September.

Demonstrators at Qalandiya clashed with Israeli troops at the end of their protest, which was held under the slogan “Women want an independent Palestine”.

"After two decades of failed negotiations, it is time that the international community, including Israel recognise Palestine as an independent state alongside Israel," declared the Israeli Sheikh Jarrah Solidarity Movement, which drew a parallel with recent protests on social issues in Israel.

Dossier: Gaza 2009

The leader of Abbas’s Fatah movement in Gaza called for a united protest in the Hamas-controlled region on 21 September.

Zacharia al-Agha called for a peaceful protest so as not to give an “excuse” to the Israelis to intervene.

But Hamas and the smaller Islamic Jihad rejected the call, claiming that Abbas’s bid will undermine the right of refugees to return, the possibility of armed struggle against Israeli occupation and self-determination.

Abbas on Friday confirmed that he will press ahead, despite pressure from the US and the Middle East Quartet.

On Saturday the European Union called on for “the resumption of constructive negotiations” to obtain Palestinian statehood, although European member-states have not yet reached agreement on how to vote at the UN.

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