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Thursday, 1 November, 2001, 11:33 GMT
Anti-British demo cancelled
Tony Blair
Most people support Blair's visit to the region
By the BBC's Kylie Morris in Gaza

Palestinian police have banned a demonstration planned to coincide with the visit to Gaza by British Prime Minister Tony Blair.

Organisers were ordered to call off the march, which was planned to mark the anniversary of the Balfour Declaration.


Many are hoping that the current warm relations between the United States and Britain will serve to empower Mr Blair to take some real steps toward returning calm to the region.

The 1917 declaration, named after British Foreign Secretary Arthur James Balfour, stated the British government's support for the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people.

Many Palestinians have not forgiven the British for their support for a Jewish homeland in Palestine and for walking away from their mandate in 1948.

The National and Islamic Committee had intended to remind Tony Blair of Britain's role in the Palestinian problem, but Gaza police chief Gazi Jabaly has warned the committee against holding the march.

Wrong route

He told organisers it was unfeasible that the march should follow the route planned for the British Prime Minister's cavalcade and asked them to postpone the demonstration until Friday.

But opponents to the visit by Mr Blair are in the minority here.

Many are hoping that the current warm relations between the United States and Britain will serve to empower Mr Blair to take some real steps towards returning calm to the region.

Some are counting on the historical legacy of the British in the Palestinian territories to oblige the Prime Minister to make an extra effort.

Others think the present-day situation in which Britain finds itself locked in a coalition fighting terror and dependent on the goodwill of key Arab states will also help to focus Mr Blair's interventions.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
The BBC's Orla Guerin
"The Prime Minister wants to talk peace"
Palestinian affairs analyst, Ghassan Khatib
says many Palestinians have high expectations of Mr Blair's visit
See also:

31 Oct 01 | UK Politics
Arab world gives Blair tough message
30 Oct 01 | Middle East
Israel considers further withdrawal
26 Oct 01 | Middle East
Analysis: US unease over Israeli action
15 Oct 01 | UK Politics
Blair urges Mid-East progress
15 Oct 01 | Middle East
Q&A: A Palestinian state?
31 Oct 01 | Middle East
Blair's road to Damascus
01 Nov 01 | UK
The Balfour Declaration
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