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Palestinians protest in West Bank against Israel-UAE deal

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RAMALLAH: Hundreds of Palestinians on Wednesday held a protest in the occupied West Bank against last week’s announcement that Israel was normalising ties with the United Arab Emirates.

Members of rival groups Hamas, which controls the Gaza Strip, and the Fatah faction of Palestinian Authority led by President Mahmud Abbas, took part in the rally in a rare joint initiative.

“Today we tell the world that we are united against ‘the deal of the century’, annexation and normalisation,” Palestinian prime minister Mohammed Shtayyeh told the rally in the village of Turmus’ayya.

The shock announcement last week that Israel and UAE would normalise ties sparked fury among Palestinians, with both Hamas and the Palestinian Authority leadership denouncing the US-brokered agreement.

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Under the deal Israel said it would “suspend” its plans to annex settlements and other territories in the West Bank. The annexation plans were outlined in the controversial Middle East peace proposal unveiled in January by US President Donald Trump dubbed the ‘Deal of the Century’.

“Any normalisation legitimises the occupation of Palestinian territories,” Shtayyeh said. “It’s a stab in the back,” he added.

Around 2,000 Palestinians took part in the rally at Turmus’ayya, a village in the north of the West Bank nestled between the cities of Ramallah and Nablus.

Clashes took place between protesters and Israeli forces on the outskirts of the village as protesters threw stones at Israeli forces who responded with tear gas.

Earlier on Wednesday, hundreds of Palestinians held a protest in the Gaza Strip to denounce the UAE-Israel deal.

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