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February 22, 2013 10:30 am

PA Official’s Threats Manifest Into Friday Riots Across West Bank, Jerusalem

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IDF presence in Hebron. Photo: wiki commons.

Demonstrations quickly deteriorated into riots Friday as clashes between IDF soldiers and Palestinian Arab protesters played out throughout the West Bank and in Jerusalem, making real threats made by PA officials that violence would break out if Israel didn’t release several hunger striking convicts from its prisons.

Following Friday prayers at the Temple Mount in Jerusalem, Palestinian Arabs began hurling stones at security forces at the Old City’s Mughrabi Gate, with Israeli forces using stun grenades to disperse the rioters.

In Hebron nearly a thousand protesters marched in and around the city, Israel’s Channel 10 reported, with hundreds throwing rocks at policeman and into the Jewish enclave, Beit Hadassa.

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Near Ramallah Hundreds of Palestinian Arabs protested at the Bituniyeh Checkpoint, near Ofer Prison, where the hunger strikers were being held.

In Nabi Saleh, also near Ramallah, security forces used live fire to disperse protesters.

Ahead of the demonstrations, Israel security services increased their alert level, Army Radio reported.

On Tuesday Kadoura Fares, the head of the Palestinian Prisoners Club, a nongovernmental organization dealing with prisoners’ rights, warned that emotions could flare out of control. “Sometimes the fire starts out small and expands to a large inferno,” he said. “If one of the prisoners dies, spirits will flare, Israeli soldiers will shoot at demonstrators, and things will get out of hand.”

Administrative detainee Samer Issawi was sentenced Thursday to eight months in prison for illegally entering the West Bank, thus breaking the terms of his release in the Gilad Shalit prisoner exchange. Issawi’s crimes specifically include opening fire with an AK-47 at an Israeli bus, firing at an Israeli car, and manufacturing pipe bombs used in terror attacks.

Another administrative detainee on hunger strike, Jafar Azzidine, was taken to Assaf Harofeh Medical Center overnight Friday, after complaining of sickness. In addition, Ayman Sharawna, also on a hunger strike, was hospitalized at Soroka University Medical Center in Beersheba. The fourth detainee on a hunger strike, Tarik Hussein, was also admitted to Assaf Harofeh Medical Center on Friday.  Sharawna also broke the terms of the Shalit prisoner exchange deal while Azzidine and Hussein are both from Arabe near Jenin and are senior Palestinian Islamic Jihad operatives.

Last week the Palestinian Authority minister of prisoner affairs, Issa Qaraqe, warned that if any of the prisoners were to die, violence could escalate considerably.

“If, God forbid, any prisoner dies of hunger strike inside the prison, the situation on the ground will deteriorate,” Qaraqe said. “People won’t stand for any prisoner to die of a hunger strike.”

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  • Elliot J. Stamler

    Israel brings these problems on itself. If it ended its dangerous and morally indefensible abolition of the death penalty and executed every single Arab caught who is provably involved in violence or terrorist activities, it would not have hunger strikes nor bear the expense of maintaining nazis, which is what these Arabs are, in prison for long time periods. Anyone who thinks my recommendation would worsen the situation ought to examine how the situation could be any worse. Since 1917 there has been unremitting Arab violence against Jews in the Holy Land and the way to deal with Arab murderers and murderers-in-training is to kill them before they can do any more killing of Jews.

  • Duvid Crockett

    Love the idea of an “intermittent” hunger strike. The terrorists could keep it going into their eighties. I have personally been on hunger strike between breakfast and my 11a.m. snack and am now feeling sick. Any chance of sampling the culinary delights of Assaf Harofeh Medical Center, flying in from London. All we have here is Euro-horseburgers labelled as beef.

  • Jacqueline

    blame it on the Israelis: they chose to go on a hunger strike. if those Palestinians spent the time developing something useful instead of rioting, building bombs killing they might have a viable civilization. I think their hatred of Israel is really jealousy at what the Israelis have built. It is. true in history as it is true today.

  • Fortune

    Isn’t there any way to stop the tweeting which coordinate these riots?

  • Joel Keller

    All they would have to do is eat something, and they won’t die of a hunger strike. But, they’re not into anything as intellectually honest as that, as they have no morality or scruples. They are vicious animals and should be treated as such.

  • lisa cohen

    Israel should not release any of these jihadi thugs.

    If any prisoner starves to death that is their responsibility and their choice; a choice that would lead to a better Middle-East.