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Israeli forces injure 5 during Prisoner's Day marches across West Bank

April 17, 2015 8:06 P.M. (Updated: April 19, 2015 11:37 A.M.)
RAMALLAH (Ma'an) -- Five Palestinians were shot and dozens suffered excessive tear gas inhalation when Israeli forces violently suppressed protests marking Palestinian Prisoner's Day across the West Bank on Friday.

In Nilin village, west of Ramallah, three Palestinians were shot with live rounds and a teenager was hit in the mouth with a rubber-coated steel bullet, witnesses said.

Dozens of locals and activists participated in the march before Israeli forces dispersed it by firing tear gas canisters and live and rubber-coated steel bullets.

In Bilin village, west of Ramallah, two Palestinians were shot, one with live fire, and up to 60 protesters suffered tear gas inhalation.

Ahmad Mohammad Mansour, 17, was shot in the chest with a live bullet and was taken to the Palestine Medical Complex in Ramallah, while Munther Ameera was shot with a rubber-coated steel bullet in the lower extremities and treated on the scene.

Among those who suffered excessive tear gas inhalation were Palestinian Minister of Prisoners' Affairs Issa Qarage, Minister of Agriculture Walid Assaf, lawmaker Mustafa al-Barghouthi, and Palestinian journalist Linda Shalash.

Israeli forces also violently dispersed a protest in al-Masara village south of Bethlehem, injuring several with bruises.

Israeli forces deployed at the village entrance reportedly prevented the protesters from reaching confiscated lands and assaulted them.

'Willful breach of Palestinian rights'

The clashes across the West Bank broke out as protesters marked Palestinian Prisoner's Day, honoring more than 6,000 Palestinians in Israeli jails.

Senior PLO official Hanan Ashrawi on Friday marked Prisoner's Day by demanding that Israel end its "captivity" of the Palestinian people under occupation.

"Today, we honor and express our solidarity with all Palestinians who have been and continue to be imprisoned in Israeli jails," she said in a statement.

"We commend their steadfastness, courage and determination in defiance of Israel's military occupation and system of enslavement and apartheid."

Since Israel's 1967 occupation of the West Bank, East Jerusalem and Gaza, over 800,000 Palestinians have been detained by Israel's military, while over 60 Palestinians have died in Israeli jails, the PLO says.

Over 70 percent of Palestinian families have had at least one relative detained at some point, according to the UN.

Fourteen Palestinian MPs and 20 journalists are currently imprisoned by Israel, with over 450 Palestinians held without trial for indeterminate periods under administrative detention.

"We call on all members of the international community to act on the basis of justice and human rights and bring Israel to compliance for its willful breach of the rights and lives of Palestinian political prisoners," Ashrawi added.

Late Thursday, President Mahmoud Abbas marked Palestinian Prisoner's Day by saying that any future peace agreement must free all Palestinian prisoners.

During a televised speech, Abbas emphasized that continued Israeli policy regarding frequent detention of Palestinians is not conducive for creating a plausible environment for future peace.

"It is time for decision holders in Israel to realize that jails, settlement, confiscating lands and withholding holding PA tax funds will only lead to more extremism and keep us from reaching what we seek, which is a just peace based on ending occupation."
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