Palestinian protesters in Santa suits in Bilin protests.
(photo credit: REUTERS/Mohamad Torokman)
Five Palestinians were reportedly injured in clashes Friday with IDF forces near Ramallah in the West Bank, Palestinian news agency Ma'an reported, while two IDF soldiers were lightly injured in Bilin, an army spokeswoman said.
Dozens of Palestinian protesters threw rocks at IDF soldiers in the village of Silwad north of Ramallah, who responded with crowd dispersal measures, including tear gas and 022 bullets, an IDF spokeswoman said.
The IDF was still looking into reports of injuries on the Palestinian side.
In Bilin, IDF soldiers used rubber-coated bullets and tear gas to disperse a demonstration of some 100 Palestinians throwing rocks at the soldiers, the IDF spokeswoman said.
Ma'an reported the demonstration was to celebrate Christmas and the release of hunger-striker prisoner Samer Issawi
Palestinians reported that dozens of protesters suffered excessive tear gas inhalation, and photographer Mohammad Yassin, 20, was hit with a rubber-coated bullet.
The IDF said that while it has not received reports of Palestinian injuries, two IDF soldiers were lightly injured from rocks and were taken to hospital for treatment.
These incidents were just the latest in a series of violent clashes between Israeli security forces and Palestinian terrorists.
Tensions between Israel and the Palestinians have intensified recently, as reports increased that the US-mediated peace talks have ground to a halt.
In the past week alone, a Palestinian sniper killed a Defense Ministry contractor
doing maintenance work on the Gaza border fence, a bomb was planted on a bus in Bat Yam
, a police officer was stabbed at a West Bank checkpoint
, and rocket fire from the Gaza Strip
continued trickling into southern Israel.
The IDF struck several terrorist targets in Gaza
in retaliation to the various attacks, Iron Dome missile defense batteries have been redeployed in the south
, and security forces have increased their presence
on the Gaza border, in the West Bank and in east Jerusalem.
At least two Palestinians were killed in the retaliatory strikes on the Gaza Strip, one of them a three-year-old girl, while several others were injured.
Israel's envoy to the US Ron Prosor urged the UN Security Council Friday to join UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in condemnation of the recent flare of violence, and decried the lack of condemnation from Palestinian leadership.
"Two days ago, the UN Secretary-General condemned the violent Palestinian attacks, alas not even a whisper was heard from [PA President Mahmoud Abbas] and his men," he wrote in a letter to the UN Security Council
Prosor said incitement in the Palestinian Authority was to blame for the spike in Palestinian terror attacks against Israelis.
"The recent wave of violence is proof the Palestinian incitement has deadly results. School books, preaching in mosques and the [Palestinian] leadership's rhetoric all inflame hatred, ignorance and intolerance towards Israelis and Jews," he said.
"There won't be peace and calm in our region until we know peace and calm on our borders," Prosor concluded.