Hamas MPs join anti-fence protests

Tear gas, stun grenades used to disperse protest, ten demonstrators arrested.

bilin protest 298.88 (photo credit: AP)
bilin protest 298.88
(photo credit: AP)
A couple of hundred Palestinians and far-left Israeli activists clashed with police Saturday during a protest against the construction of the security barrier on the outskirts of Jerusalem, police said. The demonstrators pelted police with stones during the illegal early-afternoon protest near the A-Ram crossing, Jerusalem police spokesman Shmuel Ben-Ruby said. Police fired stun grenades and tear gas to disperse the rioters and arrested 10 demonstrators. Two border policemen were lightly injured after being hit in the head rocks. They received medical treatment on the scene. The barrier in A-Ram, located just north of the city, is made up of a concrete wall that cuts through the center of a major neighborhood thoroughfare, dividing the area from Jerusalem. The demonstrators included Hamas parliamentarians who live in east Jerusalem, as well as far-left Israeli activist Uri Avinery. The five Israelis who were detained by police were released later in the evening, but the remaining Palestinian detainees were kept in police custody, under suspicion of having thrown rocks at security forces, Army Radio reported. Yet, even before the release, MK Dov Kheinin (Hadash) demanded that all protestors detained at the demonstration be released immediately. He reportedly said he would turn to Defense Minister Amir Peretz to resolve the matter. Kheinin said that the security forces acted in an inappropriate manner, and accused them of discriminating between Jewish and Arab protestors. He insisted that, unlike in right-wing demonstrations, unreasonable force was used against Saturday's demonstrators. The construction of the barrier will place 8 percent of the West Bank on the Israeli side of the barrier when finished, with the major West Bank settlement blocs incorporated into Israel. The barrier going up on the outskirts of Jerusalem, which is now slated to be completed next year, will place 55,000 Arab residents in four outlying Jerusalem neighborhoods on the Palestinian side of the barrier, with the remaining 185,000 Arab residents of the city on the Israeli side.