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Nearly 40 injured in clashes across the West Bank

March 14, 2014 10:39 P.M. (Updated: March 16, 2014 2:54 P.M.)
JERUSALEM (Ma'an) -- Nearly 40 protesters were injured after Israeli forces opened fire on demonstrations across the central West Bank on Friday afternoon, activists said.

The injured included 35 Palestinians in the Abu Dis and Eizariya neighborhoods of East Jerusalem as well as two Palestinians in Beitin.

Additionally, a Norwegian activists was struck in the back by a tear gas canister fired by Israeli forces in Bilin.

The demonstrations come after a week of intense violence in the region, as airstrikes and rocket fire was exchanged in the last two days across the Gaza border after seven Palestinians were reported killed by Israeli forces in separate incidents in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip earlier in the week.

East Jerusalem

Dozens of Palestinian were injured in clashes with Israeli forces in the Abu Dis and Eizariya villages in East Jerusalem on Friday.

Spokesman for the local popular resistance committee Hani Halabiya told Ma'an that 35 young men were struck by rubber-coated steel bullets, while dozens of others suffered from excessive tear gas inhalation.

Palestinians threw rocks at Israeli forces and closed the roads with trash bins during the clashes.

Israeli forces fired tear gas randomly at houses and at the Eizariya cemetery, Halabiya said.

Israeli forces also fired at al-Quds news photographer Rami Alariya.

"Israeli forces shot four tear gas canisters, a metal bullet, and three stun grenades at me in different locations while I was covering the clashes," Alariya said.

"An officer threatened to shoot me and then gave orders to soldiers to shoot me near al-Jabal junction in Abu Dis," he added, "in addition to the curses and insults I received."

Beitin

Two Palestinians were injured in clashes that broke out in Beitin village east of Ramallah on Friday.

One protester was struck by a live bullet in the leg and another was hit by a rubber-coated steel bullet after Israeli forces opened fire at protesters, who were throwing rocks at them.

Protestors said they marched to condemn the killing of Saji Darwish, 18, last week, a student at Birzeit University from Beitin who was shot dead by Israeli soldiers while he was throwing rocks at the vehicles of Israeli settlers.

An Israeli military spokeswoman said that "30 Palestinians" were "rioting" and Israeli forces responded with "riot dispersal means."

One hit was confirmed, she added.

Bilin

A Norwegian activist was injured and dozens of others suffered from excessive tear gas inhalation in clashes in Bilin in the central West Bank.

Israeli forces fired tear gas, stun grenades, and rubber-coated steel bullets at protesters as they neared their lands close to the wall, injuring a 36-year-old woman from Norway named "Katia" who was struck by a tear gas canister in the back.

Organizers said the protest was held "in loyalty to the martyrs," and protesters raised Palestinian flags and posters of Saji Darwish. They marched through the village and chanted songs for unity and resistance.

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.

Israel began building the separation wall in 2002, and the route has been the target of regular demonstrations by border towns whose land is cut off by its path.

An Israeli army spokeswoman did not have information regarding the incident.

Nabi Saleh

Dozens of activists suffered from excessive tear gas inhalation as Israeli forces dispersed a protest in Nabi Saleh northwest of Ramallah.

Protesters marched towards their confiscated lands which have been taken over by the nearby illegal Jewish settlement of Hallamish after the noon prayers and condemned recent "Israeli crimes" against Palestinians, the ongoing siege on Gaza and continued settlement activity in the West Bank.

Israeli forces dispersed protesters using rubber-coated steel bullets, stun grenades, and tear gas.

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.
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