Largest West Bank Protest Leaves Two Dead, More Than 100 Injured
The largest Palestinian protest march in decades erupted in the West Bank on Thursday, as thousands of people converged on the border with Jerusalem and clashes with Israeli forces left at least two dead and hundreds injured, according to 972mag.com, a website run by local journalists committed to human rights.
The protest and clashes “with Israeli security forces [occurred] in the West Bank and East Jerusalem late Thursday night, as thousands of Palestinians marched from Ramallah to the Qalandia checkpoint, which separates Jerusalem and the West Bank,” the website reported. “The protest was the largest in the West Bank in years – according to some Palestinian activists, the largest in decades – and quickly spread to East Jerusalem, where police were said to be clashing with protesters in the Old City, Silwan, and other neighborhoods. Protests were also reported in Nablus and Bethlehem.”
Haaretz reporter Amira Hass filed dispatches that described Palestinian ambulances with loud sirens racing away from the marchers, “evacuating protesters wounded by Israeli fire at the checkpoint,” 972mag.com reported. “The protest came during Laylat al-Qadr, the 27th night of Ramadan and the holiest night of the year for Muslims. According to the Jerusalem Post, "Israel Police… said that hundreds of officers would be stationed around the Old City during Friday prayers, and that no Arabs under 50 would be permitted to enter Damascus Gate.”
Another Haaretz report said, “‘These are scenes out of the first intifada,’ said participants of that particular uprising, who came to the hospital when they heard their sons and daughters were wounded by IDF gunfire.”
Earlier Thursday, news reports said that Hamas political bureau head Khaled Meshaal was ready to sign a cease-fire agreement, as long as the siege of Gaza was ended by Israel and Egypt.
“We want an international airport, we want a seaport, we want an opening to the outside world, and not the situation where we are controlled by a few border crossings that turn Gaza into a huge prison, where no one can leave even for medical treatment or to work,” Meshaal told Haaretz. “When we get a clearly worded drafting that guarantees these things, and the international community gives its backing to this draft – than the fire can be stopped, even today.”