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PA security clash with protesters in Ramallah

June 30, 2012 7:57 P.M. (Updated: July 2, 2012 10:06 A.M.)
BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- Dozens of young Palestinians clashed with PA security forces in Ramallah on Saturday at a protest against the leadership's scheduling of a meeting with Israeli vice premier Shaul Mofaz.

The youth gathered in central Ramallah and tried to march on the headquarters of the leadership, the Muqataa, where they were blocked by riot police and some plain clothes agents.

"They beat them badly," a witness who asked not to be identified told Ma'an, adding that three people were taken to hospital but the extent of their injuries was not immediately clear. They were identified as journalist Muhammad Jaradat, Hassan Faraj and Waed Barghouti.

Activists told a Ma'an correspondent that six people were injured, and six others detained when forces attempted to disperse the crowd.

Other witnesses told Ma'an that security forces used more force than at past demonstrations, pushing and in some cases punching and kicking people who joined the rally.

A spokesman for the Palestinian security forces could not be reached for comment.

President Mahmoud Abbas was slated to meet Mofaz in Ramallah on Sunday, but officials announced Saturday the summit had been postponed indefinitely.

A senior Fatah official, speaking on condition of anonymity, told Ma'an the meeting was postponed for several reasons including public opposition under the current circumstances.

Meanwhile, Israeli daily Haaretz reported that Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu ordered advisers to request Abbas cancel the meeting due to his own disagreements with Mofaz over new legislation to include ultra-Orthodox Jews in the Israeli military.

Mofaz, head of Israel's centrist Kadima party, joined Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's coalition in May and told reporters this month that he intended to meet Abbas "to examine ways to restart peace negotiations with the Palestinians."

Netanyahu's associates denied the claims, insisting Abbas had canceled the meeting himself because of protests, Haaretz noted.

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