Palestinians keep lid on protests
U.S. Secretary of State Christopher going to Israel
October 4, 1996
Web posted at: 2:15 p.m. EDT (1915 GMT)
In this story:
(CNN) -- As Israeli police kept their distance, Muslim clergy
and Palestinian authorities moved quickly Friday to prevent
renewed Israeli-Palestinian violence that has killed more
than 70 people since last week. Calls from the Islamic
radicals of Hamas for violent confrontation went unanswered.
Palestinians acted to keep the lid on protests in the West
Bank and Gaza Strip ahead of U.S.-mediated talks with Israel.
U.S. Secretary of State Warren Christopher will travel to the
region to hold separate talks with Israeli Prime Minister
Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian authority leader Yasser
Announcing Christopher's quick trip to the region, State
Department spokesman Nicholas Burns said, "It's clear the
situation in the Middle East remains dangerous and requires
intensive and productive efforts."
Christopher will fly to Israel Saturday and meet with
Netanyahu on Sunday. He will go to Gaza to see Arafat.
At Jerusalem's al-Aqsa mosque compound, where three
Palestinians were shot dead by Israeli police one week ago,
clerics and Palestinian legislators worked to defuse any
There was a brief flurry of running and some panic by
Palestinians, a few of them saying later they thought they
saw Israeli police approaching. Jews, too, were on edge.
Worshippers abandoned their prayer at the Western Wall (also
known as the Wailing Wall), when a few stones were pitched
from Muslim holy places above.
Through it all, the 3,000 Israeli police deployed in Arab
East Jerusalem were low-key. Unlike last week, they did not
storm the mosque complex as soon as the first rock flew. In
the end, both Muslims and Jews decided not to take chances.
The number who came to worship at the compound, known to Jews
as the Temple Mount, was lower than usual.
Israeli police said scrupulous checks of identification cards
kept many potential troublemakers away.
While Palestinians have expressed frustration, desperation
and anger at the status of Mideast peace efforts, Israelšs
Netanyahu appealed them not to lose hope. "I ask you, don't
go into mourning. Don't lose hope," Netanyahu said on Israeli
television's Arabic service Thursday night. The talks
beginning Sunday are "an opportunity for a fresh start for
the peace process," he said.
Arafat declared in Tunis on Friday he would not compromise on
any Palestinian rights at the talks. The Palestinian
president briefed Tunisian President Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali
on this week's summit with
Netanyahu. Later, Arafat left for Naples to meet Italian
The two-day Washington summit ended on Wednesday with no
agreement on major substantive issues.
In related developments Friday:
Correspondent Bill Delaney and Reuters contributed to this report.
- Netanyahu asks Palestinians not to lose hope - October 3, 1996
- Summit draws mixed reactions in Mideast -October 3, 1996
- Arafat, Netanyahu agree to continuous talks - October 2, 1996
- Arafat, Netanyahu meet again - October 2, 1996
- Netanyahu, Arafat get down to talks in private - October 1, 1996
- Israelis, Palestinians skeptical about summit prospects - October 1, 1996
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