- The Washington Times - Sunday, September 29, 2002

From combined dispatches
GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip Israeli troops shot dead a protester in Palestinian demonstrations yesterday marking the second anniversary of their uprising as Israel sought U.S. help in resolving its widely criticized siege of Yasser Arafat.
The Palestinian leader vowed no letup in the revolt and won fresh vows of loyalty from his people 10 days after the Israeli army trapped him in his offices and razed the compound around him in response to suicide bombings that killed seven Israelis.
The siege has shored up Mr. Arafat's slumping popularity and stalled the Palestinian reforms that are key to resuming peace diplomacy, dismaying the United States, which was seeking a respite in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict to help win Arab states over to its cause for a military campaign against Iraq.
Israeli diplomatic sources said Prime Minister Ariel Sharon had sent a senior aide, Dov Weisglass, to Washington for talks to discuss how to end the impasse between Israeli forces and Mr. Arafat and some 200 Palestinians holed up with him. But White House Press Secretary Ari Fleischer said he had no information about upcoming White House meetings with Mr. Weisglass.
Israeli troops killed a demonstrator and wounded at least 22 others in clashes with stone throwers in the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip, after killing a militant in a Gaza refugee camp, witnesses and medics said.
In Gaza City, a teeming militant stronghold, thousands of protesters bearing national flags and portraits of Mr. Arafat heard an address from the Palestinian leader relayed from his besieged lodgings and office in the West Bank city of Ramallah.
Organizers said they had asked militants not to bring guns to the rally in the city, where some earlier protests had been peppered with shots fired into the air. They said 50,000 people turned out. The crowd waved Palestinian flags and chanted support for Mr. Arafat, whose standing had appeared to flag before the latest Israeli siege.
Protesters in several West Bank communities, including Ramallah and a refugee camp near Bethlehem, sent hundreds of balloons into the sky. Children clutching candles gathered by night at Mr. Arafat's Jericho office and heard the leader tell them by phone, "You are our future. We are together until victory."
In Ramallah, soldiers fired rubber-coated bullets and tear-gas grenades to disperse stone-throwing youths.
Hospital officials said a 66-year-old Briton in a group of pro-Palestinian foreign peace activists in Ramallah was wounded by rubber bullets at one rally.
Several thousand Palestinian children holding candles marched after nightfall through the West Bank city of Jericho, which has been largely calm throughout the uprising and not under curfew, witnesses said.
Yesterday marked two years since the right-wing Mr. Sharon, then opposition leader, visited a Jerusalem site holy to Muslims and Jews. The Palestinian revolt erupted right afterward.
At least 1,572 Palestinians and 601 Israelis have died in the violence over the past two years.
In Israel, hundreds of Israeli Arabs and left-wing Jews observed the anniversary in the northern town of Kfar Manda. Carrying Palestinian flags, they urged Israel to quit the West Bank and Gaza Strip, captured in the 1967 Middle East war.
Rallies saluting the Intifada were also held in Cairo, where about 500 people gathered, witnesses said.


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