Palestinians In The Occupied West Bank & Gaza Protest Against Israeli Violence

Hundreds of Palestinians protested at checkpoints into the Shuafat refugee camp, which is home to an estimated 60,000 people, on the northern outskirts of Jerusalem on October 12. The protests erupted as Israeli security forces continued a hunt for the killer of an Israeli soldier who was shot while on duty there.

Clashes with the Israeli security forces subsequently broke out across the West Bank on Wednesday, in cities such as Nablus and Bethlehem, where security forces blocked roads into the city. The violence further spread to the streets in East Jerusalem where Israeli police said they clashed with rioters and arrested several people.

Many shops and educational institutions in occupied Palestine closed on Wednesday in solidarity with the besieged people in the Shuafat camp and with the Ras Khamis, Anata, Dahiyat al-Salam, and Ras Shehadeh neighborhoods, where the Israeli police have imposed strict restrictions on residents’ movements.

“The strike is in solidarity with Shuafat refugee camp and how it is being dealt with,” said Jerusalem resident Khaled Alqam to Reuters. “It looks like it will be the start of a civil disobedience (campaign), and let us hope for the best.”

The incidents are the result of months of escalating tensions that have deepened since late March when Israeli forces began a crackdown in the occupied West Bank following a series of attacks by Palestinians in Israel. The operation was marked by a near-daily series of raids and clashes, largely occurring in Nablus and Jenin.

According to the Palestinian Ministry of Health, since the beginning of the year, at least 160 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli forces in the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip, including 51 Palestinians during Israel’s assault on Gaza in August.

Thousands protested in the Gaza Strip too, as a sign of solidarity with fellow Palestinians in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem.

On October 14, rallies were called by Hamas and Islamic Jihad. They began from mosques in Khan Yunis in southern Gaza and Jabalia in the northern Gaza Strip, where the demonstrators carried banners that read: “Palestine brings us together, Jerusalem is ours, we will defend Jerusalem with our hands and souls”, accompanied by pictures of young men killed by the Israeli forces, said Al Jazeera.

Senior Hamas official Mosheer Al-Masry told Al Jazeera the protests affirmed the unity of all Palestinians following a reconciliation deal signed by rival Palestinian groups on October 13.

“The West Bank and Jerusalem are entering a new phase that shows Israeli occupation that armed struggle is the choice of our people,” he said; “daily incursions by Israeli settlers into the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound, in the old city of Jerusalem, and other recent Israeli provocations at the site are only driving Palestinian resistance (…) the West Bank is rising up again, confirming that the path towards liberation and sweeping the occupier is through the barrel of a gun” he continued.

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