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Israeli forces open fire on protests across the West Bank

Dec. 20, 2013 7:17 P.M. (Updated: Dec. 22, 2013 6:26 P.M.)
RAMALLAH (Ma'an) -- Israeli forces dispersed Palestinian protests across the West Bank on Friday, injuring dozens of demonstrators with rubber bullets and through the excessive use of tear gas.

Protests against the Israeli occupation and separation wall took place in the villages of Bilin, al-Masara, and Nabi Saleh.

Bilin

Eight protesters people were injured with rubber bullets and dozens suffered from excessive tear gas inhalation after Israeli forces dispersed a weekly protest in Bilin, near Ramallah.

Protesters raised Palestinian flags and chanted songs for unity and resistance against the Israeli occupation.

Israeli forces fired rubber-coated steel bullets, stun grenades, and tear gas at protesters as they neared their lands close to Israel's wall.

Ashraf al-Khatib, Majd Burnat, Hamouda Yassin, Mohammad Abu Rahma, Mohammad Yassin, Mohammad Hamad, Ali Abu Rahma, and Bassim Yassin were struck with rubber coated steel bullets in different body parts, including one in the head.

The demonstration was held in protest of the Israeli forces killing of two Palestinians by Israeli forces in Jenin refugee camps and Qalqiliya during last week.

Since 2005, Bilin villagers have protested on a weekly basis against the Israeli separation wall that runs through their village on land confiscated from local farmers.

Previous protests by Bilin activists have forced the Israeli authorities to re-route the wall, but large chunks of the village lands remain inaccessible to residents because of the route.

Al-Masara

Israeli forces dispersed a demonstration marking the establishment of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, a leftist Palestinian political group, and Christmas in al-Masara near Bethlehem.

Participants raised Palestinian flags, pictures of late President Yasser Arafat and former PFLP leader Abu Ali Mustafa, but were stopped by Israeli forces who used plastic shields to obstruct them when they reached the entrance of the village.

Since 2006, the residents of al-Masara have protested on a weekly basis, demanding Israeli authorities return village lands confiscated in order to build the separation wall as it crosses through their town.

Nabi Saleh

Israeli forces also dispersed a popular demonstration in Nabi Saleh village near Ramallah.

Israeli forces fired tear gas and rubber-coated steel bullets at demonstrators, causing dozens to suffer from excessive tear gas inhalation.

Israeli forces claimed that the demonstration was illegal because it was held in a closed military zone. Israeli forces declare the village a closed military zone on a weekly basis in anticipation of the demonstration.

Clashes then broke out and Palestinians threw rocks at Israeli forces, who responded with more tear gas.

In 2004, the International Court of Justice called on Israel to stop construction of the separation wall within the occupied West Bank.

When completed, 85 percent of the wall will run inside the West Bank.

The internationally recognized Palestinian territories of which the West Bank and East Jerusalem form a part have been occupied by the Israeli military since 1967.

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