Palestinian Geneva delegates pelted with rotten eggs (JERUSALEM POST) By KHALED ABU TOAMEH 12/04/03)
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Palestinian protesters in the Gaza Strip on Wednesday attacked
returning members of the Palestinian delegation to Geneva with stones
and rotten tomatoes and eggs.
Witnesses said a large group of children waited at the Rafah border
crossing for the Palestinian officials who attended the ceremony to
launch the Geneva Accord in Switzerland. The first to arrive was
Hasan Asfour, a former Palestinian Authority cabinet minister and a
member of the Palestinian Legislative Council.
The witnesses said that the children at first tried to talk to
Asfour, but he ignored them and got into a jeep that had come to
collect him. At this point, the children started throwing stones and
rotten eggs and tomatoes at the vehicle.
A group of masked gunmen also showed up, firing into the air and next
to the jeep. Asfour left the vehicle and tried to get into a
Palestinian police car, but was blocked by the angry demonstrators.
He then fled to the Israeli side of the border crossing. Unconfirmed
reports said Asfour was wounded in the leg either by a stone or a
The next in line was Ashraf Ajrami, a senior official with the PA
Ministry of Information. As soon as he crossed into the Palestinian-
controlled side of the border terminal, the demonstrators,
chanting "Death to the traitors and collaborators," pounced on him
and stole his suitcases. He was rescued by Palestinian policemen, who
drove him away in one of their cars.
Sources in Gaza City told The Jerusalem Post that the "reception" for
the Geneva delegation members was organized by senior Fatah officials
and representatives of the refugees in the southern Gaza Strip. The
sources added that similar protests are expected in the next few days
outside the homes and offices of the Palestinians who participated in
the Geneva conference.
Following Wednesday´s incidents, the IDF closed the Rafah border
crossing and reopened it after the crowd left the area.
This is the second incident of its kind at the Rafah crossing border
this week. On Sunday, Palestinian protesters attacked a number of
delegates as they arrived at the border crossing on their way to
Geneva. The crowd beat and hurled insults at the participants,
condemning them as traitors and collaborators who would relinquish
the right of return for all refugees to their original homes inside
Husam Khader, a popular Fatah legislator from Nablus who is standing
trial in Israel for organizing terrorist attacks, on Wednesday
launched a scathing attack on the Geneva Accord and its Palestinian
authors. In a message from prison, Khader, who heads the Committee
for the Defense of Palestinian Refugees Rights, called for bringing
Geneva initiator Yasser Abed Rabbo and his colleagues to trial for
betraying the interests of the Palestinians.
Khader accused the Palestinian negotiators of exploiting the issues
to gain personal fame and glory. He also praised the residents of
Rafah who attacked the Palestinian officials on their way to Geneva
and upon their return.
(© 1995-2003, The Jerusalem Post 12/04/03)
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