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February 8, 2020 1:14 pm
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Clashes in West Bank After Wave of Palestinian Terrorism

avatar by Reuters and Algemeiner Staff

A Palestinian demonstrator drags a burning tire during a protest against the US President Donald Trump’s Middle East peace plan, in the village of Bilin in the disputed West Bank, February 7, 2020. Photo: REUTERS/Mohamad Torokman.

Following a wave of Palestinian terrorist attacks against Israelis, Palestinian protesters and Israeli security forces clashed in the West Bank over the weekend.

More than a dozen Israelis were wounded in car-ramming and shooting attacks in a 12-hour eruption of terrorism on Thursday. Friday’s killing raised the Palestinian death toll to four.

On Friday, mourners had gathered in the disputed West Bank for the funeral of a Palestinian police officer who was shot dead in the unrest a day earlier. Palestinian authorities said he was killed by Israeli gunfire. Israel has not commented.

There were sporadic clashes between protesters and Israeli security forces near Azzun, where the funeral was held.

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Palestinians also clashed with Israeli troops in Jericho and burned tires in the West Bank village of Bil’in.

Palestinian medics said one rioter had been shot and killed near Tulkarm on Friday.

The Israeli army said dozens of Palestinian rioters had hurled rocks and fire bombs at troops, and soldiers had identified a Palestinian who threw a firebomb and “responded with fire in order to remove the threat.”

“The Palestinian people will not allow the ‘Deal of the Century’ to pass,” said Mohammed Barakeh while waving a Palestinian flag in Bil’in, referring to President Donald Trump’s just-unveiled peace plan.

“They are fighting for their national character and the independence of their country,” said Barakeh, a former Israeli lawmaker and member of Israel’s 21% Arab minority, many of whom identify as Palestinian.

President Mahmoud Abbas’s Palestinian Authority has rejected Trump’s peace plan, which would give Israel most of what it has sought during decades of conflict, including the holy city of Jerusalem and nearly all the land on which it has built settlements.

Trump’s senior adviser Jared Kushner, the main architect of the US plan, has denounced the Palestinian leadership, breaking from decades of diplomacy in which Washington sought to appear neutral. On Thursday, he blamed Abbas for the violence.

“I think he does have responsibility,” Kushner said after briefing UN Security Council ambassadors. “He calls for days of rage in response, and he said that before he even saw the plan.”

Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat said Washington was to blame for the unrest since the plan was unveiled.

“Those who introduce plans for annexation and the legalizing of occupation and settlements are really responsible for deepening violence and counter-violence,” he said.

He added that Abbas would go to the UN Security Council with “a genuine peace plan.”

Israeli police said security chiefs had met on Thursday and would increase security “across the country, with emphasis on Jerusalem.”

Palestinians have long boycotted relations with the Trump administration, which they view as biased. Washington says its plan offers a path toward a Palestinian state, and blames the Palestinian leadership for chasing unrealistic goals.

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