Palestinians living in parts of the West Bank are celebrating a new-felt freedom one day after Israeli troop withdrawals took place under the Wye River peace accord.
Residents of the village of Tubas were just some of those who took to the street to cheer and honk their horns marking the occasion.
Israel's pullout from three dozen towns and villages gives Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat control over an addition two percent of the West Bank and was a key element to the peace accord.
But not everyone had something to cheer about.
The night before, Palestinian cabinet members complained that of Israel's promised release of 250 additional prisoners, many were common criminals and not political detainees.
It was literally a day for dancing in the streets in the village of Tubas, part of Jenin in the West Bank, on Saturday.
One day after the first Israeli troop withdrawals there since the Wye River Middle East peace accord, residents came out in force to express their elation.
Townspeople waved Palestinian flags, honked car horns and sang to mark the momentous day.
Their village was one of three dozen which witnessed the departure of Israeli soldiers on Friday and ushered in a new feeling of autonomy and freedom.
The agreed pullout, Israel's first from occupied land in nearly two years, was a key element of the interim peace accord and one that the Palestinian side held dear.
The mayor of Jenin said the community has finally shed the mantle of occupation, which he equated to being enslaved by the Israelis.
"Occupation - it means slave, to be a slave. And so after the liberation, now we can - we will begin to feel free."
SUPER CAPTION: Diab Abu Kheizizaran, Mayor of Jenin
People young and old joined in the celebrations, which mark an important turning point for long-term Middle East relations.
The pullout gives Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat control over another two percent of the West Bank.
Many Palestinians see it as another step towards their ultimate goal of statehood, something which Arafat has pledged to achieve.
Revelers expressed feelings of hope for the future given their new sense of self-determination.
"We are looking for the best - with the coming of the Palestinian Authority in our country - we are looking for the best and feel the financial situation would be very good with the help of our God and the Palestinian Authority."
SUPER CAPTION: Vox pop
A parade featuring young performers kicked off the main part of the celebrations.
The Israeli withdrawal gives Palestinian police strengthened control over the village of Tubas.
Joining Jenin's mayor in the convoy into Tubas was the local army commander, Ziad Arafat, who waved to the crowd from his car window.
People lined the streets and shot off fireworks overhead to welcome Palestinian forces into the area.
But while local Palestinians were celebrating, their political leaders had little to cheer about regarding another part of the peace agreement.
On Friday night, a Palestinian cabinet meeting addressed Israel's promised release of Palestinian prisoners on Friday.
During the Wye negotiations, Israel agreed to release 750 Palestinian prisoners in a gesture that is mentioned neither in the accord nor in accompanying agreements.
But the cabinet members were angry that of the latest 250 released, 150 were common criminals and not political detainees, as promised.
Negotiator Saeb Erekat said the move violated the spirit of the peace accord and said letters of complaint were en route to Washington and Israel.
"We have contacted the American administration, we have contacted the Israeli government, hoping that the 150 will be soon released and we hope that in the next three weeks, the Israeli government will continue implementing their commitments - the opening of the safe passage, having an industrial estate, the transfer of five percent from area C to B and on our part, we will continue carrying out our commitments to the letter."
SUPER CAPTION: Saeb Erekat, Palestinian negotiator
The latest diplomatic flareup served as a familiar reminder that more work needs to be done in the Middle East before any real celebrations over peace progress take place.