Thousands of Jewish Settlers Call on Barak to Keep Occupied Lands
Thousands of Jewish settlers demonstrated in front of Israel's parliament on Monday, calling on Prime Minister Ehud Barak not to hand over the land where they live to the Palestinians.
Some 20,000 settlers, about half of them children, attached decals to their clothing and wore hats emblazoned with the logo "Barak, Don't Abandon Us."
Schools throughout the Israeli-occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip were closed so that the settlers' children could attend the rally.
The settlers, who live on Arab land which Israel occupied in the 1967 Middle East war, fear that Barak could dismantle some or all of their communities as part of a peace deal with the Palestinians due to be concluded in September.
The settlers were later to hold a demonstration in downtown Jerusalem before moving on to the prime minister's home.
They have expressed outrage at Barak's reported willingness to give up more than 90 percent of the West Bank in a final agreement with the Palestinians.
About 1,500 settlers demonstrated late Thursday outside Barak's home against any new pullback in the West Bank.
Nearly 200,000 Jewish settlers live in some 150 settlements in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, in addition to the 180,000 Israelis who live in Arab east Jerusalem, whose annexation in 1967 is not recognized by the international community - OCCUPIED JERUSALEM (AFP)
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