Palestinians Clash With Israel Police at Jerusalem's Temple Mount

Following the conclusion of Friday morning prayers, Palestinian worshipers begin hurling stones at police; dozens of Palestinians wounded in heavy clashes with Israeli forces throughout the West Bank.

Dozens of Palestinians were wounded across the West Bank and Jerusalem on Friday, Palestinian sources reported, as a result of clashes between protesters and Israeli security forces.

In Jerusalem, Palestinian protesters hurled stones at Israel Police forces following the conclusion of Friday prayers. In a rare move, Israeli police entered the Temple Mount and used stun grenades to disperse the crowd. Dozens were reportedly wounded after inhaling tear gas.

According to Palestinian eyewitnesses, the confrontations began at the conclusion of Friday prayers as many demonstrators marched toward roadblocks the West Bank. IDF soldiers fired tear gas, stun grenades and rubber bullets toward Palestinian protesters, who threw rocks at the soldiers.

In the area around Ramallah, hundreds of Palestinians gathered near the IDF roadblock next to Ofer Prison to rally in support of hunger-striking Palestinian prisoners. At least 12 people were reportedly wounded by rubber bullets or due to tear gas inhalation during clashes with IDF forces.

Heavy clashes also reached the area of Hebron, where Palestinian demonstrators demanded the re-opening of Hebron's Shuhada Street to Palestinian residents, who cannot use the street, and also showed their support for Palestinian prisoners held in Israeli prisons.

As the protesters approached Shuhada Street, IDF soldiers fired tear gas at them. One of the demonstrators said that the procession had been a quiet one and that the demonstrators had no intention of confronting IDF troops. However, the Palestinian witness stated, as the procession neared Shuhada Street they were met with what was described as a very violent response from IDF soldiers, who fired tear gas and stun grenades at them and used other crowd dispersal methods. Palestinian Legislative Council member Mustafa al-Barghouti was wounded along with dozens of others as a result of the tear gas. Clashes also broke out in the area of Tul Karm, Nablus, Jenin and at several Palestinian villages located near the separation barrier.

In the last few days, tension in the West Bank has escalated. Hundreds of Palestinians have participated in a slew of protests, demonstrating in support of hunger-striking Palestinians jailed in Israeli prisons.

Hundreds of young Palestinians from Beitunia demonstrated Thursday in support of hunger-striking prisoners. The youths clashed with Israel Defense Forces soldiers that arrived on the scene with heavy reinforcements, ready to contain the protests.

During the morning protests, Palestinian youths began hurling stones at soldiers and Israeli Border Police officers. Three journalists were lightly wounded by the stones, including Channel 1 correspondent Yoram Cohen, a reporter and a photographer from Channel 10. Palestinian officials reported that 20 people were injured by rubber bullets.

On Thursday, the leader of the northern wing of The Islamic Movement in Israel, Sheik Ra'ad Salah, announced that he has also begun a hunger strike, in solidarity with the prisoners. Two days ago, a tent was erected in Nazareth’s Maayan square in support of the prisoners. There, activists distribute information about the prisoners, and released prisoners are available to talk.

On Saturday, a demonstration is scheduled to be held in the city’s main street in support of the prisoners, while other protests are expected to continue throughout the West Bank. 

AP