Security in West Bank under control but tensions remain high
24 Sep, 2011 01:00
Mahmoud Abbas addressed the UN General Assembly amid simmering tensions on the Palestinian-Israeli border. Israelis fired tear gas at the demonstration supporting the Palestinian statehood bid and Israeli settlers attacked a Palestinian village.
There has been overwhelming support among Palestinians for their historic bid for statehood at the United Nations. As RT’s Paula Slier reported from Ramallah, celebrations there continued overnight, just as they did in Hebron, Nablus, Bethlehem and other major Palestinian cities.People on the streets who shared with their feelings with RT said that they felt as if all those decades of struggle had finally borne fruit, and this bid at the UN is that fruit. For Palestinians, it seems to be a done deal. They know that it still needs the backing of the United Nations for Palestine essentially to come into existence. Still, they celebrate as if that had already happened.The security situation on Saturday morning is reportedly under control, but tensions are still running high on both sides of the border. Both the Israelis and Palestinians are concerned that what happened on Friday may just be the beginning of what will come in the next days and months.On Friday, one Palestinian was killed in a Palestinian village which came under attack by Israeli settlers. The clashes also continued at a West Bank checkpoint between Israel and Palestine, with Israeli forces firing tear gas at Palestinian demonstrators.On Friday morning, the Israeli army strengthened its positions at the Qalandia checkpoint between Jerusalem and Ramallah, where Palestinians began throwing stones at the Israeli forces, and burning tires. Late into the night, neither the Palestinians, nor the Israeli forces have left the checkpoint area.All these reports are apparently pointing to what the Israeli army was afraid would happen. At the same time, the Palestinians are saying that the Israelis have been preparing for this violence as if they wanted this violence to happen, Slier says.Palestinians are now concerned that the Israeli army will now crack down heavily in terms of security in the West Bank and make it more difficult for them to pass through security checkpoints. Also, they fear that the Israelis, as a form of punishment, will withhold taxes that they collect on behalf of the Palestinian authority.Rallies are set to continue in Palestinian cities throughout Saturday and Sunday, ahead of the discussion of Palestine’s bid at the UN Security Council, which is due to take place on Monday.