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On the scene with Fionnuala Sweeney in Gaza

Fionnuala Sweeney
Fionnuala Sweeney  

CNN.com talked with CNN International anchor Fionnuala Sweeney on assignment in Gaza where an uneasy calm remains between Palestinians and Israelis.

Q: What is the general mood in Gaza?

Sweeney: Generally speaking it has been fairly calm in Gaza, but there is an undercurrent of tension that's been here ever since these clashes started three weeks ago.

Many Palestinians feel that Yasser Arafat should not have gone to the Sharm el-Sheikh summit, that he would be forced to make too many concessions, and they believe the time for talking is over and they talk about this being a new intifada, the first intifada beginning in 1987. And they talk about this being the intifada for independence.

As Yasser Arafat issued his statement yesterday afternoon where he basically called for calm, there were people on the streets at Kefardarom, which is a Jewish settlement. Palestinians were battling Israeli soldiers.

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There's an uneasy calm. I think people are basically waiting and watching to see what emerges. I think each side, the Israelis and the Palestinians, are watching each other to see exactly what happens. Of course, there's the Arab League summit this weekend in Cairo, which is of huge significance.

Q: Are there any signs that a cease-fire might take hold?

Sweeney: These clashes tend to be quite organic; people talk about Yasser Arafat, whether or not he's in control of his people, but when you talk to people or talk to Palestinian Authority policemen, they say that the anger of the people is so strong that they don't feel they have any right to try and control it.

I think these clashes tend to gear up in different places, but they're quite organic. One side will always blame the other for starting it.



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RELATED SITES:
United Nations
Israel Defense Forces
Addameer: Palestinian Human Rights Association
  • Clashes Information Center
Palestinian State Information Service
Live Western Wall Camera at Aish
Palestinian National Authority Home Page
The Israeli Government's Official Web site
About the West Bank
Union of Palestinian Medical Relief Committees
U.S. State Department

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