As Protests Flare in Hebron, Jewish Community Remains Calm
by Zach Pontz
3,000 Palestinian Arab protesters marched from Hebron’s city hall to an Israeli checkpoint in the West Bank city Friday as part of celebrations for the 25th anniversary of the founding of Hamas.
IDF and border police where stationed at the checkpoint, which sits adjacent to the city’s Jewish community, in case the protests turned violent.
Rabbi Danny Cohen, Co-Director of the Chabad of Hebron, said that the community remained calm.
“Everybody is celebrating Chanukah here. There’s rioting around us but we’re getting ready for Shabbos. You need something much bigger than a few demonstrations to make this community tense,” he told The Algemeiner.
Large IDF and Border Guard forces were deployed in Hebron in addition to some 200 Palestinian officers, Ynet reported. Shortly after concluding Friday prayers at the city’s mosques, Palestinian Arabs began hurling stones at IDF soldiers in the Arab section of the city, but no injuries were reported.
“The soldiers that are serving here are very frustrated. Because of the political situation they are not allowed to react to their attackers,” Rabbi Cohen told The Algemeiner.
In Qalandiya, north of Jerusalem, and in the village of Bil’in, known for its weekly protests, Palestinian Arabs threw stones at Israeli security forces.
In the West Bank city of Nablus/Shechem on Thursday some 10,000 Hamas supporters marched from Al-Nasr Mosque to Martyrs’ Square, where a mass rally was held to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the movement’s establishment. The rally was also meant to signal the improvement of relations between the Islamist group and its rival Fatah.
Tensions have been high in the West Bank since Wednesday when a 17 year-old was shot by border police after brandishing a gun at them which was later found to be fake.