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September rallies to avoid confronting army

Aug. 12, 2011 10:27 A.M. (Updated: Aug. 14, 2011 9:33 A.M.)
BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- All rallies in support of the Palestinian bid for UN membership in September will be confined to areas where the Palestinian Authority has security control, thus avoiding confrontation with the Israeli army, high-ranking Palestinian Authority sources told Ma'an Thursday.

"Ramallah rallies will be carried out in Manara square, Bethlehem rallies will be carried out in yard of the Nativity Church and so on," the sources said, adding "we will not give the [Israeli] occupation any excuse to abuse our children or to kill our residents."

The locations are in the heart of urban areas that were designated "Area A" under the 1993 Oslo agreement -- and thus formally under full Palestinian Authority civil and security control, making up 17.2 percent of the West Bank.

All other areas are under Israeli military control, and Israeli incursions into "Area A" are not unknown.

The Ramallah-based government sources told Ma'an, however, that rallies -- whether organized or spontaneous -- would not spill over into "Area C," where Israeli military and settlers have entire freedom of movement.

Palestinian students will return to school come September, the sources said, as this does not contradict the Palestinian struggle for a state, independence, and freedom.

The Palestinian Authority are preparing to ask the UN's recognition of a Palestinian state, with the UN General Assembly due to vote on the proposal on September 20.

The date is expected to see large-scale demonstrations in support of Palestinian statehood, and the Authority has vowed not to allow them to get out of control.

The government sources criticized the role of the Israeli media in publicizing Israel's preparations for September protests, saying that stories had been falsified in order to mislead the public.

Referring to the wide-scale protests being held in Israeli cities on socio-economic issues, the sources said the media stories speculating about violence in September are "an attempt by [Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin] Netanyahu to export his internal crisis with the protesters in Israel to the Palestinian territories."
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