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'Down with America'
rally threatens Rice

Condoleezza Rice

RAMALLAH – Senior members of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’ Fatah party staged an anti-American protest today outside the main government building here while Abbas met with U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, WND has learned.

Most media coverage of today’s Ramallah protests claimed rally participants were affiliated with Hamas and Islamic Jihad.

“Down with America,” “[Hezbollah leader Hassan] Nasrallah hit America,” “Fire rockets into Tel Aviv,” and “We don’t need American money,” were among the major slogans shouted repeatedly today by hundreds of protesters gathered on the streets as Rice and Abbas held a meeting in the main Ramallah government building a few yards away in which the fighting in Gaza and Lebanon reportedly was discussed.

Palestinian police clashed with some protesters who tried to shove their way into the government building.

A group of protesters, who said they were affiliated with Fatah, told WND they would try to charge Rice when she emerges.

The main protest organizer, outside leading the crowd, was Zyad Abu Ein, a senior Fatah official and general manager of the PA’s Ministry of Prisoners. Ein is known to be a close Abbas confidante and is considered one of the most important members in Ramallah of Fatah’s Revolutionary Council.

Ein told WND that aside from today’s street protests near the Rice meeting, he asked Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails to stage what he called a “day of rage” against the secretary of state’s visit by not cooperating with prison wardens.

Rice arrived in Ramallah with a large security detail and was whisked inside the government building. She arrived nearly two hours ahead of the start time of the meeting announced earlier to journalists. She quickly departed after giving a brief statement to reporters in which she expressed support for the formation of a Palestinian state.

“Even as the Lebanon situation is resolved, we must remain focused on what is happening here, in the Palestinian territories,” Rice told a news conference in Ramallah without answering any questions from reporters.

“On our desires to get back to … (the) vision of two states living side by side in peace,” Rice said.

The secretary of state said she told Abbas “how very much admiration there is for you in the United States for your courage and your continuing leadership of the Palestinian people.”

“I assured the president that we had great concerns about the sufferings of innocent people throughout the region and we must get back onto a course” that will redeem a vision of “two states living side by side in peace.”

“All in all, this was a very useful and constructive discussion,” Rice said. “We are working with the Palestinian Authority and its duly elected president on multiple fronts.”

Today’s Fatah rally follows a WND exclusive interview last week in which Abu Nasser, second-in-command of the Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades terrorist group, warned it is only a “question of time” before Palestinian terror groups and other Islamic organizations in the Middle East target the U.S. both abroad and on the home front.

The Al Aqsa Brigades, the declared “military wing” of the Fatah party, is responsible for scores of rocket and shooting attacks, and – together with Islamic Jihad – for every suicide bombing since last February’s so-called cease-fire.

“The Americans deserve to be targeted because of their support to the enemy. … It is a question of time before the revolutionary organizations in the Middle East will start targeting the Americans,” said Abu Nasser, speaking to WND from Nablus.

“One can say that these threats are just rhetoric, but the near past proved that these threats come more and more into reality,” said Abu Nasser. “Believe me, it is a new era and I am suggesting to the American people to adopt a different policy and strategy because very soon they will deal with a unified Muslim world, but without the help of their agents in the Middle East.”

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