World Bulletin / News Desk
Hundreds of demonstrators marched on the offices of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas on Tuesday to protest against diplomatic contacts with Israel and to denounce police violence at a previous rally.
Chanting for an end to the Oslo accords, the flag-waving crowd cut through Ramallah's crammed city centre under the watchful eye of scores of plainclothes security officers.
Heavy handed security forces intervened on Sunday to prevent a smaller group of protesters from reaching Abbas's headquarters in the occupied West Bank, and beat some journalists who tried to cover the event.
But a government source said police were under orders on Tuesday to allow the protesters to take their message to the gleaming stone walls of Abbas's compound, which is also the burial place of previous Palestinian president, Yasser Arafat.
"The streets are open to us today, and that's the result of a political decision. They realise the violence before made them look bad," said Ali Nakhle, a student who joined approximately 400 other, mainly youthful protesters in downtown Ramallah.
While there were no slogans directed specifically against Abbas himself, the protesters were scathing about a recent announcement that the Palestinian president was ready to meet Israeli Vice Premier Shaul Mofaz.
The planned encounter would have been the highest-level meeting between the two sides since direct peace talks broke down in 2010. However, it was abruptly called off at the weekend in apparent response to Palestinian public opinion.
"We want your head Mofaz," the crowds chanted on Tuesday, adding: "The people want the fall of Oslo," adapting a common refrain against the ruling elites in countless Arab Spring protests over the past 18 months.
The 1993 Oslo Accords gave the Palestinians limited self-rule in the occupied territories, and set out guidelines for future peace talks to end the Middle East conflict.
However, a lasting deal has proved elusive and the latest round of talks collapsed two years ago in a dispute over continued Jewish settlement building in the occupied West Bank.
The protesters, who do not appear to belong to any political faction, called for a fresh rally on Thursday, hoping their grass-root movement, which first took to the streets at the weekend, will gather momentum.
The demonstrations have come at a particularly delicate moment for Abbas's Palestinian Authority, which is facing a severe cash crisis because of a failure by some donor states, particularly in the Gulf, to hand over promised funds.
Finance Minister Nabil Kassis told reporters on Tuesday that the government could not pay its workers this month because the coffers were empty.
Both Moscow and Kiev have accused the other of shooting across the border, and Ukraine says missiles shot from Russia may have downed two of its fighter jets this week
"The federal government has requisitioned the services of the Pakistan army in aid of civil power in Islamabad," the prime minister's office said
Clashes were also reported in Jerusalem after Israeli authorities barred Muslims from performing Friday prayers at the Al-Aqsa Mosque.
Police said the bomb was left in a vehicle about 50 metres from a hotel in the town of Betong, which is popular with tourists from nearby Malaysia
At least 3 hae been confirmed dead, 10 rescued and 8 missing after an overloaded vessel carrying illegal Indonesian workers capsized.
Israeli air force dropped about 3,000 tons of explosives on the Gaza Strip in the first 15 days of the conflict, including 120 tons in the border town of Shejaia alone
Banned substances include gasoline and firecrackers, but also drinking water, cooking oil and yogurt.
Abbott said that Russian-backed rebels who control the area were tampering with evidence on "an industrial scale" and argued that outside police or possibly military forces were needed to ensure that did not continue.
Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani said leaders should show flexibility so that political deadlocks could be broken and Iraq could confront militants.
State media said "millions" of people joined the rallies nationwide, which were called to mark Iran's annual day of solidarity with Palestinians.
At least three women and a three-year-old child were among those killed.
Greek Cypriot leader Nikos Anastasiades was enraged when Turkish Cypriot president Dervis Eroglu refused to accept certain proposed terms, raising his voice, slamming his fist and throwing his glasses across the room in anger.
Jordanian government spokesman said the "aerial target was shot after being intercepted" when it violated Jordanian air space near the northern border city of Mafraq.
U.N. health agency said that four hospitals, including al Aqsa hospital in the coastal strip, had been damaged in the conflict that began on July 8 when Israel launched air strikes
Yatseniuk, Ukraine's point man for the West during much of the turmoil in the country since November, tendered his resignation on Thursday, saying parliament was betraying its people's demands
Brazil called the escalation of violence "unacceptable" and recalled its ambassador for consultations.