Palestinians Launch Mass Protests Ahead of UN Bid

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JERUSALEM, Israel -- Palestinian Arabs in Ramallah and other P.A. cities in Judea and Samaria (the West Bank) took to the streets Wednesday in support of the U.N. bid for unilateral statehood.

Thousands stood in the al Manara Square in Ramallah, not far from the Palestinian Authority government's Mukata complex. Schools and government offices were closed and residents offered free transportation to join the demonstrations.

P.A. Secretary-General Tayeb Abdelrahim denounced the "Netanyahu and Lieberman government," telling the cheering crowd "There is a Palestinian partner, but there is no Israeli partner" for peace," YNet news reported.

"Our message to our leaders, Mahmoud Abbas and Yasser Arafat, is the people support you. The Palestinian state will be formed within the 1967 lines and Jerusalem will be its capital," Abdelrahim said.

The P.A.'s Fatah faction called for mass demonstrations in all cities under P.A. control, including Hevron, Jenin, Nablus (biblical Shechem), Kalkilya and Bethlehem.

A large deployment of P.A. security forces hope to keep the demonstrations from turning violent.

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