IDF Cracks Down on Peace Marches As Rival Palestinian Camps Clash

While the Palestinian peace camp tries to sustain the enthusiasm demonstrated upon the return of its delegation from the Madrid peace conference, the Israel Defense Force has been clamping down on peace demonstrations in the administered territories, as Palestinian advocates and foes of the peace process contend among themselves.

The IDF intervened Wednesday in Hebron when a scuffle developed between Arab peace advocates and their opponents. No one was reported hurt.

Peace rallies, with supporters bearing olive branches, have been staged by supporters of Al Fatah, the mainstream faction of the Palestine Liberation Organization.

The marches are opposed by the Islamic fundamentalist Hamas movement and its sympathizers. Still, Hamas supporters appear to have lost ground, at least temporarily, to the Palestin ian political coalition committed to peace talks.

Palestinians supporting peace have been visiting campuses and trade union centers in the West Bank, drumming up support and forming regional political action committees, which would guide the Palestinian delegates to the peace talks.

In an effort to rally as wide support as possible for the committees, another 25 members, from the Communist Party and a faction of the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine, have been included in this process.

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