There have been angry scenes in Ramallah as protesters staged a heated rally outside Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’s West Bank compound. Demonstrators are angry at what they see as the Palestinian authorities’ failure to take strong action to try to stop a barrier Israel is building through their land.
Israel says it needs the structure to keep suicide bombers from its cities. It cuts through the West Bank and Palestinians say its construction is a grab for land they want for a state. Amid the unrest, Abbas, who is due to meet US President Bush at the White House this week, was forced to leave through a side entrance. In Gaza, meanwhile, thousands of Hamas supporters poured onto the streets to protest against a court ruling overturning some of the militant group’s victories in recent local elections. There is also anger at news that a parliamentary vote set for July 17 may be delayed. Hamas wants the ballot held on time, believing it poses a serious threat to Mahmoud Abbas’s ruling Fatah party.