Palestinian rioters in Hebron 370.
(photo credit: TOVAH LAZAROFF)
Violence broke out in several spots across the West Bank on Thursday, as
Palestinians buried three men they considered national heroes – two teenagers
from Tulkarm and a security prisoner from Hebron.
The IDF killed Amer
Nassar, 17, and Naji Balbisi, 18, using live fire, when the two attacked a
military guard post outside Tulkarm late on Wednesday night.
of the two young men were carried on gurneys through the streets of their home
village of Anabta on Thursday morning to chants about “martyrdom.”
Hebron, 15,000 Palestinians marched through the streets with the body of
Maissara Abu Hamdiyeh, 63, who died of esophageal cancer in an Israeli prison on
He was serving a life sentence for trying to bomb the Caffit
Restaurant in Jerusalem’s German Colony neighborhood.
also took place in Jenin, Ramallah and Gaza, where protesters walked behind a
Throughout the day, Palestinians expressed their anger at
Israel and the IDF by throwing stones, burning tires and in some cases lobbing
firebombs at soldiers and IDF guard posts.
Palestinians threw stones on
the outskirts of Ramallah, near the Kalandiya checkpoint between Jerusalem and
Ramallah, and near Hawara outside Nablus, where they also burned
In Samaria, some 100 Palestinians threw stones and burned tires
near the Yitzhar settlement.
Palestinians also threw stones at Rachel’s
Tomb in Bethlehem, and near the villages of El-Khader, El-Aroub and Beit Umar in
Spokesman Idan Iluz said that across the West Bank, no
Border Police officers had been hurt in clashes with rioters.
that the Border Police had made two arrests for rock-throwing – one at Kalandiya
and the other near the Allenby Bridge to Jordan.
But the largest outbreak
of violence was in Hebron, where some 300 Palestinians rioted throughout the
day, mostly near the Police Officer checkpoint, which has become a continual
Palestinian teens threw stones and firebombs and rolled
burning tires at soldiers, who responded with stun grenades and tear
Black smoke from the tires and white smoke from the tear gas was so
strong at times that it rose up above the buildings and hovered in the
Soldiers positioned themselves on rooftops and in the
Stores were closed near the Police Officer checkpoint, and the
street was littered with stones and burning tires.
Masked teenagers hid
behind a barricade they had built of metal siding and trash barrels, and threw
Some onlookers, including children, stood on the sidelines to
watch. One little girl positioned herself behind a concrete barrier near a
soldier. At the time, the street was rocked by shots of tear gas canisters,
rubber bullets and stun grenades.
Mohammed Ayyad, the spokesman of the
Palestinian Red Crescent, told The Jerusalem Post that 17 people were wounded in
Thursday’s fights in Hebron and in the broader West Bank.
He said that
eight people had been wounded by rubber-coated bullets, and another eight had
been hit by tear gas canisters.
Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails,
where a three-day hunger strike had been declared, also
Prisons Service spokesman Sivan Weitzman said 1,900 security
prisoners had sent back their meals on Thursday, the second day of the
solidarity protests. The number is a significant drop from Wednesday, when,
according to Weitzman, some 4,620 security prisoners – nearly all such prisoners
in Israel’s prisons – sent back their meals.
Weitzman said there was no
violence reported in security blocks on Thursday.
An army source
downplayed the day’s events, saying the incidents of violence were not
extraordinary, and that out of 15,000 mourners who had arrived at the funeral in
Hebron, only dozens had taken part in disturbances.
“This tells us that
the masses don’t have the appetite to take part in rioting. The large
majority isn’t interested,” the source said.
In the usual hotspots around
the West Bank, dozens showed up for disturbances, and the largest instance of
unrest was registered at the Police Officer checkpoint, where 100 Palestinians
threw stones at security personnel.
“Is this very different from another
sensitive day? Not really,” the source said.
Separately the IDF continued
to investigate the deaths of the two teenagers who attacked the guard post near
The IDF said that the teenagers had thrown firebombs at the
guard post, and that the remains of seven such bombs had been found at the
The soldiers targeted by the firebombing felt their lives to be at
risk and therefore used live fire, a senior defense source told the
According to Sarit Michaeli of B’Tselem – The Israeli Information
Center for Human Rights in the Occupied Territories, at least three Palestinian
teenagers had gone to attack the guard towers, and been able to get fairly close
to it, when the IDF shot at them.
Nassar, 17, was immediately identified
as one of the boys shot, and his photograph was quickly circulated on Twitter
and Facebook, along with a video of mourners marching his body through the
streets immediately after his death late on Wednesday night.
teen was wounded, but the third teen, Balbisi, was initially missing, according
to Michaeli. His body was found hours later near the guard tower, she
The two teens who died were friends. Palestinian activists
circulated photographs on Twitter and Facebook of them sitting together and
Nida Tuma contributed to this report.