Prayers replace protests on second day of Palestinian 'rage'
June 4, 1999
Web posted at: 6:54 p.m. EDT (2254 GMT)
JERUSALEM (CNN) -- Prayers rather than protests marked the second of three "days of rage" called by Palestinian leaders to express their impatience with Israel's expansion of Jewish settlements.
Thousands of Palestinians attended protests against Israeli army posts and Jewish settlements in the West Bank and Gaza on Thursday.
But relatively few people turned out after Friday prayers for another protest rally called by the Palestinian Authority.
A sense of apathy seems to have replaced Thursday's anger, which sparked the worst clashes between Palestinians and Israeli troops since last month's election of Ehud Barak as prime minister. At least 18 Palestinians and three Israeli troops were injured in Thursday's clashes.
"Our leadership is willing to sacrifice 100 people for insignificant political gain, said Palestinian grocery store owner Yacob al-Hayek.
Al-Hayek said he took four bullets in the stomach and was jailed several times during the intifada uprising against Israeli rule.
"Beforehand, I was willing to die for the Palestinian flag. Now it doesn't mean anything to me," al-Hayek said.
For now, the Palestinian Authority appears less worried about its standing among Palestinians and more concerned about Barak's credibility as a peace negotiator.
Palestinians have been angered by a last-gasp surge in settlement expansion in and around Jerusalem by outgoing Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's government.
Netanyahu's government also refused to hand over West Bank lands to the Palestinians as outlined in last year's Wye River accords, saying that the Palestinian Authority had not done enough to stop terrorism.
Barak, who overwhelmingly defeated Netanyahu in the May 17 vote, is talking to Netanyahu's right-wing Likud party and the pro-settler National Religious Party about their inclusion in a broad coalition government he hopes to form.
Correspondent Jerrold Kessel contributed to this report.
Palestinians protest surge in Jewish settlements
June 3, 1999
Barak floats compromise on settlements freeze
May 31, 1999
Israel's Barak squeezed over issue of West Bank settlements
May 30, 1999
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