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Barghouti: Domestic Israeli politics behind Gaza escalation

Aug. 20, 2011 1:26 P.M. (Updated: Aug. 20, 2011 1:26 P.M.)
RAMALLAH (Ma'an) -- The escalation in violence by Israel against the Gaza Strip was planned in advance by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's government, a Palestinian lawmaker alleged Saturday.

Mustafa Barghouti said Israel "planned for the attack on the Gaza Strip to escape a social crisis, which Israel is currently going through, and from a political crisis with the United States."

Now is the time for Palestinians to complete a factional reconciliation agreement signed earlier this summer in Cairo, said Barghouti, a former information minister and presidential candidate.

Palestinians should unite in order to campaign for sanctions against Israel, he said.

In Ramallah, meanwhile, a few dozen Palestinians in Manara Square condemned the continued operations in Gaza, which have killed 14 people since a deadly series of attacks in Israel on Thursday.

Protesters carried Palestinian flags and banners demanding that the international community intervene to stop the attacks and Israel's "crimes against the Palestinian people in the Strip."

The demonstrators also called for wrapping up the unity deal, which was signed in May.
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