Violent Clashes Erupt in the West Bank After 10,000-Strong March

A protester holds a Palestinian flag as he runs past burning tyres during clashes with Israeli troops near Ramallah, at a protest against Israeli offensive in Gaza. Mohamad Torokman/Reuters

Four Palestinians have been shot dead and two wounded today in a clashes with police and a Jewish settler on the West Bank, according to the Associated Press.

An Israeli civilian shot one protester dead at a demonstration near Nablus, before Israeli military opened fire and killed a second. In a separate protest in Hebron, on the other side of Jerusalem, three more Palestinians were killed by Israeli police, reports Reuters. 

This comes after Palestinian leaders had called for a “day of rage” following severe clashes between protesters and police on the West Bank and Jerusalem last night in which three more Palestinians were killed.

10,000 Palestinian protesters marched from Ramallah to Jerusalem in the largest demonstration on the West Bank in nearly a decade, protesting the Israeli offensive in Gaza.

Violence broke out between protesters and police at the Kalandiya checkpoint between Ramallah and Jerusalem. Molotov cocktails were thrown and shots fired by protesters according to Al Jazeera. 4,000 Israeli armed police officers were deployed in and around Jerusalem and the West Bank.

Parts of the main road were blocked by a succession of burning tyres, as protesters pelted police with stones. Israeli authorities confirmed they had sanctioned the use of “riot dispersal means” in response to the violence.  

Thursday's protests left two Palestinians shot dead, two others in critical condition and 200 wounded, hospital officials in Ramallah told the Jerusalem Post. 39 protesters have been arrested while 27 Israeli police officers have been “lightly hurt”, the paper reported today.

The march marks a significant shift in Palestinian Authority's relationship with Tel Aviv, as president Mahmoud Abbas gave permission for the demonstration yesterday.

Rioting was reported across the eastern part of the city as well, as well as inside the Jewish populated Old City of Jerusalem quarter and on the Temple Mount, according to the Times of Israel.

The protests began after Thursday prayers concluded the month long Islamic festival of Ramadan.

While riots in Palestinian quarters of eastern Jerusalem have been ongoing since the murder of a Palestinian boy by Israeli extremists, the ten thousand strong march from Ramallah marks the largest Palestinian act of protest on the West Bank since 2005.

Israeli Defence Minister Yitzhak Aharonovich warned this morning he will “not allow for riots”.

“Whoever tries to harm or take the law into his hands will be in danger of a very strong response from the police and security forces,” he told Israeli News site YNET.

Police in Jerusalem are preparing for more riots after Friday prayers, deploying more forces in Muslim populated areas.

According to National Police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld, Damascus gate, one of the entry points for the Jewish populated Old Town quarter, will not allow entrance to any Arabs under the age of 50 to enter.

“We have received information that there will be disturbances, so we are leaving nothing to chance to ensure the safety of residents,” added Rosenfeld today.

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