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Israeli forces open fire on protests across West Bank, injuring dozens

Feb. 21, 2014 9:02 P.M. (Updated: Feb. 23, 2014 10:35 A.M.)
BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- Dozens of Palestinians were injured on Friday in clashes with Israeli forces across the northern and central West Bank.

Clashes occurred in a number of areas across the region, including al-Jalazun, Bilin, Nabi Saleh, and Khirbet Atuf, a small village near Tubas, on a day that saw dozens wounded in the southern West Bank city of Hebron and the Gaza Strip as well.

Al-Jalazun

Clashes erupted at the entrance to al-Jalazun refugee camp north of Ramallah when Israeli forces dispersed dozens of protesters after Friday noon prayers by shooting tear gas canisters as well as metal and rubber-coated steel bullets.

Four people were injured with metal and rubber-coated steel bullets, while dozens suffered from excessive tear gas inhalation.

Bilin

Two people were injured and dozens suffered from excessive tear gas inhalation in the village of Bilin west of Ramallah when Israeli forces dispersed the village's weekly protest against the separation wall.

Israeli forces fired tear gas, stun grenades, and rubber-coated steel bullets as protesters neared lands that have been confiscated from them located close to the wall.

Medic Mohammad Ahmad Yassin, 24, was injured after being hit with a tear gas canister in the back, and Mahmoud Mohammad, 18, was hit with a rubber-coated steel bullet in the head.

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.

Nabi Saleh

Israeli forces violently dispersed a protest against Israeli settlements and the occupation in Nabi Saleh with rubber and metal-bullets as well as tear gas canisters. The weekly demonstration included dozens of women and children, in addition to foreign activists, and dozens suffered from excessive tear gas inhalation.

Israeli soldiers deployed heavily inside the village itself after attacking the demonstration, declaring it a "closed military zone." Local youths responds by throwing rocks at the troops as they moved through the village.

Activists in Nabi Saleh have been protesting weekly against the occupation for four years, demanding that their lands confiscated by Israeli forces to build the separation wall be returned.

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.

Atuf

Clashes also broke out in the village of Khirbet Atuf east of Tubas after dozens of Palestinians performed Friday prayers near the Al-Fasel Trench, which is near the Jordan Valley, to protest Israeli settlement activity in the area.

Dozens suffered from excessive tear gas inhalation in clashes.

An Israeli army spokeswoman did not return calls seeking comment on the clashes.

The protests and clashes across the central West Bank came amidst large demonstrations on Friday across the West Bank and Gaza.

2,000 marched in Hebron to mark the 20th anniversary of a massacre of 29 Palestinians in a mosque by a Jewish extremist, and 13 were injured when Israeli forces dispersed the demonstration.

Meanwhile, 13 Palestinians were injured when Israeli forces opened fire on protesters near the border east of Jabaliya in the Gaza Strip.

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