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World: Hundreds injured as Jordanians try to cross Israeli-controlled border

By JAMAL HALABY, Associated Press SOUTH SHUNA, Jordan (October 24, 2000 12:11 p.m. EDT - Under heavy rain, thousands of Jordanians marched toward the main Israeli-controlled border crossing Tuesday, then clashed with Jordanian police in fighting that injured more than 100 people and broke up the attempt to cross the frontier.

More than 10,000 people from Jordan's 13 opposition parties participated in the "March of Return" along with legislators, political activists and trade unionists. They first staged a sit-in at the Martyrs Monument of Karameh, site of a 1968 battle between Arab guerrillas and Israeli forces.

"The protest march is aimed at highlighting and insisting on the right of return of Palestinian refugees and Arab and Muslim rights in Jerusalem," said Saleh Armouti, one of the organizers and the president of the Jordan Bar Association.

In peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians, which are now suspended, refugees and Jerusalem are two of the most difficult issues. Palestinians want the eastern part of the holy city to be the capital of their future state and also demand that hundreds of thousands of Palestinians in Jordan and elsewhere be allowed to return to what is now Israel.

Israel says it will not recognize the right of return but will allow some refugees to settle in Israel for humanitarian reasons. It is willing to relinquish some of the outlying Arab neighborhoods but not the entire eastern sector of Jerusalem.

The demonstrators, carrying banners that read "Yes to cutting ties with the Zionist enemy" and "Yes to the right of return," called on Iraqi President Saddam Hussein to strike against Israel as he did during the 1991 Gulf War.

The demonstrators headed toward the Allenby Bridge over the Jordan River, which separates the kingdom from the West Bank. As helicopters hovered overhead, police using water cannon and tear gas clashed with them some 2 1/2 miles east of the bridge. Police also fired into the air and beat rock-throwing protesters with clubs.

Hospital officials said they treated 15 policemen and 120 demonstrators.

A similar march in 1989 also left scores injured.

On Tuesday, the 22-mile road from Amman to the border was filled with Jordanian armored personnel carriers, and security forces kept many people from reaching the demonstration.

During the past three weeks, Arab demonstrators across the region have condemned Israel for clashes between its security forces and Palestinians,4382,500272142-500424485-502650762-0,00.html

-- Martin Thompson (, October 24, 2000

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