Brandishing Palestinian national flags and green Hamas flags, thousands of people have marched through the centre of Khan Younis to celebrate Israel’s pullout from the Gaza Strip. Palestinian police struggled to keep some young demonstrators away from a wall outside the nearby Neve Dekalim settlement.Palestinians welcome Israel’s withdrawal from land captured in the 1967 war. However, some say that it is designed to allow Israel to strengthen its grip on the West Bank, home to some 240,000 settlers and ten times as many Palestinians.In recent weeks, supporters of the mainstream Palestinian faction Fatah and of Hamas have put up slogans saying they have chased out the occupier, in the same way that Hizbollah operations were seen as hastening Israel’s departure from southern Lebanon. Now Palestinian Prime Minister Ahmed Qurei has launched a campaign to clean up Palestinian cities ahead of official celebrations.
Palestinians near Jewish settlement celebrate withdrawal