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Palestinian Uprising One Year Later - 2001-09-28


Thousands of Palestinians have observed the first anniversary Friday of their uprising against Israel with demonstrations, marches, and prayers.

Palestinians took to the streets in the West Bank and Gaza Strip to remember the hundreds of people killed since the "intifada," or uprising against Israeli occupation, began one year ago. Palestinians in towns and villages observed three minutes of silence, then marched from mosques after Friday prayers.

In the West Bank town of Hebron, one Palestinian man died after a gun battle with Israeli troops and a 10-year-old Palestinian boy was killed when soldiers fired at rock-throwing protesters. A Palestinian teenager was killed in clashes near Bethlehem

In Ramallah, another Palestinian died of wounds received during clashes a week ago.

Israeli security forces deployed reinforcements in Jerusalem and restricted access to the Al-Aqsa mosque compound to Palestinians over the age of 40.

The anniversary is a major test of a ceasefire agreement worked out earlier this week by Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat and Israeli Foreign Minister Shimon Peres. As part of that agreement, security officials from both sides met to discuss details of implementing the truce.

The head of Mr. Arafat's Fatah organization in the West Bank and a leader of the intifada, Marwan Barghouti, says the uprising has achieved one key goal. "The message of the intifada," he said, "I think, which succeeded to achieve, is that Israelis will not feel secure in Tel Aviv, in Israel, in the West Bank, in Gaza, unless they give up their occupation and decide for a full withdrawal from the occupied territories."

Government spokesman Dore Gold says Israel is not convinced the Palestinian leadership has decided, despite the new cease-fire, to end the violence. "We do not discern yet that Mr. Arafat has made a strategic decision to end the intifada for a very simple reason. He has accomplished nothing with this violence and unfortunately therefore, the violence is continuing as we speak," he said.

Israeli-Palestinian fighting erupted on September 28 last year after Ariel Sharon, now Israel's prime minister, visited a contested site in Jerusalem's Old City that is holy to Muslims and Jews.

More than 800 people, mostly Palestinians, have died in the conflict.

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