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Wednesday, 18 October, 2000, 13:33 GMT 14:33 UK
Street protesters still in defiant mood
Palestinian protesters
Tensions are running high on the streets on Bethlehem
Despite the agreement reached in Egypt between Israelis and Palestinians to try to end continuing violence, the mood on the streets of the West Bank remained tense and angry on Wednesday.

Reporter Mike Williams of the BBC's Today programme sampled the feelings of Palestinians and Jews living close to the front lines of the violence.

"This agreement will not last, it will not work... in the various communities of Palestinians you see men dropping as martyrs every single day," one Palestinian protester said.

"Arafat is forced to come to an agreement, but that's not what we want," he warned.

"I don't think it will stop; it will fail...and the peace process will fail," agreed another young man.


There is a sense of frustration and bitterness among the protesters, who remain committed to an uprising they say has been long in the making.

Palestinian protesters
Protesters say their action will continue
"We didn't start the problem, they did," one man told the BBC.

"This uprising should have come a long time ago, and without it there will never be peace," added another.

Palestinian protesters are also angry over what they see as their misrepresentation in the eyes of the world's media, which they say has unfairly cast them as troublemakers and aggressors.

"Only three (of their) soldiers have been kidnapped, and all of the world is making such a big deal of it," a protester told our reporter.

Israeli scepticism

Jews living closest to the scenes of the protests in the West Bank are similarly sceptical about the long-term chances for peace.

Israeli troops
Israeli troops remain in position
"They're not committed to peace, no they're not, because they're not reliable - we can't trust them," said a Jewish resident of Bethlehem.

One Jewish woman said she believes Palestinians and Jews will never live together in peace because of "too much deep-rooted hatred."

"Both [Jews and Palestinians] have deep convictions...they both believe they have historic rights to Jerusalem," she told our correspondent.

"Only one can have it; there will always be Palestinians hurling rocks on the Jews praying at the wall, regardless of the deals that they have," she added.

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See also:

17 Oct 00 | Middle East
Violence continues despite agreement
17 Oct 00 | Middle East
Secret security agreement reported
16 Oct 00 | Middle East
Israeli captive 'lured' by Hezbollah
17 Oct 00 | Middle East
UN holds emergency Mid-East debate
17 Oct 00 | Middle East
Press avoids raising hopes
17 Oct 00 | Middle East
The Sharm el-Sheikh agreement
17 Oct 00 | Middle East
In their words: Summit reaction
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