Palestinian boy at rally 311.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Thousands of Palestinians gathered in Ramallah on Sunday to celebrate the return of PA President Mahmoud Abbas from his visit to New York, where he addressed the UN General Assembly and submitted a request for recognition of Palestine as a full member state in the world body.
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Public employees were granted permission to leave work at 1 p.m. in order to take part in the festivities. Abbas was expected to arrive in Ramallah from Jordan sometime before 3:30 p.m., Channel 10 reported.
Those at the rally waved PLO flags and held signs pledging loyalty to the PA president, Israel Radio reported.
Official Palestinian news agency WAFA reported that IDF forces detained
dozens of buses carrying people to the rally in Ramallah.
According to the report, the IDF set up checkpoints between Nablus and Ramallah in order to prevent participation in the events.
The report quoted witnesses as saying that bus drivers were attempting to take alternate routes to reach Ramallah.
The IDF was gearing up for an escalation
in violent demonstrations in the West Bank this week amid concern that
Abbas’s speech at the United Nations on Friday would motivate the public
to increase their “resistance.”
“We see calls for escalation on
the Palestinian street and expect more stone throwing over the coming
days,” a senior IDF officer said. On Sunday, the Central Command was
scheduled to review its current deployment and depending on
developments, consider the possible release of several units from active
duty in the West Bank to return to training.
On Friday, IDF
troops shot and killed a Palestinian demonstrator outside the village of
Qusra in the West Bank, marking the first casualty since riots began
earlier this week in conjunction with the PA’s bid for statehood at the
UN.Yaakov Katz contributed to this report.