Widespread Palestinian rioting erupts in West Bank
By YAAKOV LAPPIN
Hundreds of Palestinians throw rocks, Molotov cocktails at IDF soldiers near Ofer security prison in support of hunger strikers.
Widespread rioting erupted in the West Bank on Friday after Palestinians said
they would confront the IDF over security prisoners on hunger
Large groups threw rocks and Molotov cocktails at soldiers, who
responded with various riot dispersal means.
In Beitunya, west of
Ramallah, near the Ofer security prison, some 300 Palestinians rioted and threw
rocks at the IDF, lightly wounding two soldiers, an army spokeswoman
Four Palestinians were lightly wounded by rubber bullets in the
clash. An army source said reports of a Palestinian moderately wounded in the
incident were being examined.
Palestinian medics said 156 Palestinians
were treated for smoke inhalation, Palestinian news agency Ma’an
Sixty Palestinians gathered at Kafr Kaddum, west of Nablus, and
threw rocks and firebombs at soldiers.
Some 80 Palestinians appeared at
Nabi Salih, near Ramallah, to take part in a violent disturbance, and 30
Palestinians attacked soldiers in the Kalandiya area, between Ramallah and
Palestinians said that the IDF was using live fire, a claim
denied by the IDF Spokesman’s Office.
Meanwhile, Palestinian Authority
President Mahmoud Abbas said the Palestinian people would never forget their
prisoners in Israeli jails.
“We will not forget, and we will not leave
you to suffer behind the bars of the occupation,” he said during a visit to a
protest tent in Ramallah, according to Ma’an.
Smaller demonstrations in
solidarity with the hunger strikers were also held across the West Bank on
Friday, including in Bethlehem, Jenin and outside the Efrat settlement,
according to Ma’an.
The activists were seeking the release of
hunger-striking Palestinian prisoner Samer Issawi, arrested by the IDF in
Operation Defensive Shield during the second intifada in 2002. A member of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, Issawi was sentenced to 30
years in prison for terrorismrelated activity. He served 10 years, and in
October 2011 was released along with 476 other Palestinian terrorists and
criminals in the Egyptbrokered Schalit deal between Hamas and Israel.
was re-arrested in July 2012, as the IDF said he had violated the terms of his
release. He began a hunger strike shortly after his arrest.
Zahalka (Balad) told The Jerusalem Post last week that his party was trying to
internationalize the Palestinian-Israeli conflict by seeking help from the
United Nations and other countries with regards to the release of four
Palestinian prisoners on a hunger strike in Israeli jails.
has already had a modicum of success, as the representative for European Union
foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton released a statement saying she was
“following with concern” the reports about the deteriorating heath of the hunger
“The EU calls on the government of Israel to allow for the
immediate restoration of [the prisoners’] family visiting rights and calls for
the full respect of international human rights obligations towards all
Palestinian detainees and prisoners,” the statement said.
It also cited
the EU’s “long-standing concern about the extensive use by Israel of
administrative detention orders,” which currently apply to two of the hunger
“Under international law, detainees have the right to
be informed about the reasons underlying any detention and to have the legality
of their detention determined without undue delay,” the statement
“The EU calls upon Israel to bring formal charges against any
individuals detained, with a view to bringing them to a fair trial without undue
An Israeli government official responded to Ashton’s statement by
saying Israel “strictly abides by all international laws and conventions
regarding our prisoners, who have the right of judicial review all the way up to
the Supreme Court.”
Meanwhile, the Kfir Brigade’s Haruv Battalion carried
out arrests of nine Palestinian suspects overnight from Thursday to Friday, in
the West Bank village of Azun, on suspicion of throwing rocks at Israeli
vehicles and causing injuries.
The arrests followed intelligence
gathering in the village, which has been a hotbed of rock throwing and Molotov
cocktail attacks on passing Israeli vehicles in the area.
Ariel Ben Solomon and Jerusalem Post staff contributed to this report