TEL AVIV (Nov. 23)
Thousands of Palestinians from the Gaza Strip and the West Bank streamed into Jericho on Wednesday to demonstrate their support for Palestine Liberation Organization leader Yasser Arafat and the Palestine Authority.
Observers said the mass demonstration in the Jericho soccer stadium was intended as a show of force in advance of a Hamas fundamentalist demonstration planned for Friday in Gaza.
On Monday, some 10,000 supporters gathered in a sports stadium in Gaza City to show their support for Arafat, who told the crowd that he held Hamas responsible for last Friday’s riots, in which at least 14 Palestinians were killed and about 200 others were wounded.
Prior to the Jericho rally, pro-Arafat demonstrations were held in many towns in the West Bank. Fatah activists called on Palestinians to attend the rally and directed them to fleets of buses waiting to take them to Jericho.
Meanwhile, Israeli security officials are planning special precautions at Jewish settlements in Gaza on Friday, following threats by Hamas and Islamic Jihad to carry out anti-Israeli attacks to retaliate for what they claim were Israeli-initiated moves to foment last Friday’s riots.
Because of the U.S. Thanksgiving holiday, there will be no JTA Daily News Bulletin published Nov. 25.