Palestinians warn of 'third intifada'

Sept. 28, 2005 at 11:15 AM
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WASHINGTON, Sept. 28 (UPI) -- On the fifth anniversary of the second intifada, Palestinians warned of greater violence to come.

Mohammad Ranaim, a member of the Palestinian Legislative Council and a leader of late Yasser Arafat's Fatah faction, said a third insurrection was not unlikely.

"There could be a third intifada, which would be much more severe than its predecessor. This will be the intifada against the fence," he told Ynet, an Israeli internet newspaper, referring to Israel's controversial security barrier.

About a third complete, the barrier -- 95 percent fence and 5 percent wall -- will seal off the West Bank from Israel. Its proposed route, still disputed in Israeli courts, would incorporate into Israel some of the territory occupied in 1967.

During the five years of bloodshed that began Sept. 28, 2000, 1,064 Israelis and more than 4,000 Palestinians were killed.

Palestinians say the violence was ignited when Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, then an opposition leader, visited the Temple Mount in Jerusalem, the holiest site in Judaism and third holiest in Islam.

The visit sparked riots in which 25 Palestinians and police officers were injured.

Sharon was elected shortly after, promising a tough military response to Palestinian attacks. In August, however, Sharon directed a policy that led to the Israeli withdrawal from Gaza.

Leaders of the militant Palestinian Islamic Jihad and Hamas said, however, it was their armed struggle that forced the withdrawal.

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