Security forces are geared for an outbreak of violence in the West Bank Thursday, particularly in Hebron where a funeral will be held for Palestinian prisoner Maissara Abu Hamdiyeh, 63, who died of esophagus cancer in Soroka Hospital on Tuesday.
Two separate autopsies by both Israel and the Palestinian Authority that his death was caused by cancer, but that did not quell Palestinian anger against Israel for his death.
Hamdiyeh was jailed in 2002 and given a life sentence for his role in attempting to bomb the Caffit Restaurant in Jerusalem’s German Colony.
Hailing Hamdiyeh as a martyr and a hero, violence immediately broke out in the West Bank Tuesday and continued Wednesday.
Some 200 Palestinians rioted in Hebron where they threw stones and scores of Molotov Cocktails at IDF forces near the policeman checkpoint, which is often the flashpoint for such violence. An IDF officer was lightly wounded.
Stones were also thrown at security forces near the Palestinian village of Beit Omar and the settlements of Migdal Oz and Efrat.
In Samaria, stones were also thrown at soldiers near the Hawara checkpoint.
Palestinians also declared a commercial strike, closing their shops in the cities of Hebron, Nablus and in east Jerusalem.
On Tuesday, Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails, declared a three-day hunger strike in solidarity with Hamdiyeh.
Israel Prison Service Spokesman Sivan Weitzman said Wednesday that a total of 4,620 security prisoners – nearly all of those held in Israel's prisons – sent back all three of their meals on Wednesday, in a show of solidarity.
As usual in such cases, Weitzman said that the IPS does not see it as a hunger strike, rather a “meal refusal.” adding that she thinks it will probably only last up to three days as is usually the case with such protests.
She added that the IPS had deployed extra officers to the security blocks in case the situation gets violent, and that the IPS has gone on a higher level of readiness due to the possibility of worsening protests.
The United Nations Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process Robert Serry said Wednesday that he was worried by continued tensions over unresolved prisoner issues.
Separately, in the West Bank, Palestinians threw stones at Israeli vehicles, damaging two buses near Nablus and a car near the village of Halhoul.
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