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10 injured as Israel disperses protests across West Bank

June 6, 2014 6:25 A.M. (Updated: June 8, 2014 11:43 A.M.)
BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- Ten Palestinians were injured including a photographer as dozens participated in protests across the West Bank and East Jerusalem on Friday to mark the 47th anniversary of Israel's occupation of the West Bank and Gaza.

Protesters in al-Arrub refugee camp north Hebron, in Bilin, west of Ramallah, in al-Fawwar refugee camp south of Hebron, and in Jerusalem's Old City gathered to mark Naksa Day, a commemoration of the 1967 Israeli occupation of the West Bank, Gaza Strip, Golan Heights, and the Sinai peninsula, a day after similar protests in Hebron and at Qalandiya checkpoint.

Al-Arrub

Six Palestinians were injured and dozens suffered from excessive tear gas inhalation when Israeli forces opened fire on protestors in al-Arrub refugee camp north of Hebron.

Medics said that Mutaz Abu Shama, 22, was shot with a live bullet in his left foot, and taken to a hospital in Hebron for treatment during the clashes.

Six others were shot with rubber-coated steel bullets and were treated on the scene.

Bilin

Two protesters were shot with rubber-coated steel bullets and a photographer was assaulted by Israeli forces as they dispersed a rally in the central West Bank village of Bilin.

Palestinian and international activists marched to the separation wall as it passes through the village, chanting slogans in support of hundreds of hunger-striking Palestinian prisoners in Israeli prisons and against the occupation.

After chanting beside the wall for about 10 minutes, organizers said that Israeli soldiers began throwing tear gas canisters and sound grenades at the protesters, while special forces who had been hiding in the nearby hills came running to try to detain some of the protesters.

Organizers said that a number of jeeps shooting tear gas "indiscriminately" charged the crowd.

Villagers told organizers that two men from the area had been shot by the army, one twice and the other six times. Both were subsequently taken to the hospital, but their conditions were unknown.

Palestinian photographer Hamde Abu Rahma was "grabbed by soldiers and told to hand over his camera," organizers said in a statement, but he "was forced to the ground by 6 soldiers" who they said beat him with their guns in his stomach and chest.

The commander subsequently confiscated Abu Rahma's camera at gunpoint and took it for 30 minutes, during which time they deleted the photos and broke it, Abu Rahma told Ma'an.

Al-Fawwar

Protests were also violently dispersed in al-Fawwar refugee camp south of Hebron on Friday.

Dozens also suffered from excessive tear gas inhalation in clashes in al-Fawwar refugee camp.

Jerusalem

Dozens of Palestinians participated in a demonstration at Damascus Gate in Jerusalem's Old City marking the 47th anniversary of the occupation of the city by Israeli forces.

Sheikh Jamil Hamami, a member of the Supreme Islamic Council that organized the protest, told Ma'an that "Jerusalemites at this demonstration they are expressing loudly their refusal of Israeli occupation."

Sheikh Sabri, meanwhile, said that the participants, "send salutations to the prisoners of freedom and we support them," in reference to the more than 5,000 Palestinian prisoners currently in Israeli jails.

The Grand Mufti of Jerusalem Sheikh Muhammed Hussein said that "Israel is trying to Judaize the humans and stones of Jerusalem and hide the city's Arab and Islamic features, but Jerusalem will remain the heart and the eternal capital of Palestine."

Israel occupied East Jerusalem in 1967 and annexed the area in 1981 in a move not recognized by the international community.

Palestinian officials frequently condemn what they refer to as the "Judaization of Jerusalem" on the part of Israeli authorities, who they say engage in policies that discriminate against Palestinian residents and seek to encourage their departure from the city.

This policy involves the denial of construction and long-term residency permits to Palestinian residents while allowing the construction of thousands of settlement homes for Jews in order to shift the demographic balance.

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