AL KHALIL, July 7: Hundreds of supporters of Jibril Rajoub, the West Bank strongman unceremoniously dumped by Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat, took to the streets in his defence on Sunday, while Israeli troops clashed with Palestinians trying to infiltrate a Jewish settlement in the Gaza Strip.
About 500 people had gathered in Al Khalil, chanting slogans in support of Rajoub. They were taking advantage of the daytime lifting of a curfew by the Israeli army, which has reoccupied almost the entire West Bank in recent operations.
Arafat met six preventive security officers loyal to Rajoub on Saturday night, after 600 West Bank security force members vowed not to work with the successor Arafat has appointed, former Jenin governor Zuheir Manasrah. A spokesmen for the dissident officials, Captain Sabri Tmezi, said that the Rajoub supporters remained loyal to Arafat, but made it clear during the late night session that they wanted the West Bank strongman appointed to another post “at least as important”.—AFP