West Bank

Demonstrations across West Bank

Dozens of protesters on July 12 were lightly wounded in demonstrations across the occupied West Bank. In al-Maasara village south of Bethlehem, dozens suffered tear-gas inhalation as Israeli forces dispersed a protest against water shortages in the village for over 50 days and in solidarity with prisoners in Israeli jails. Protesters raised Palestinian flags and posters of prisoners, and chanted for national unity and against the wall and confiscation of land. In Nabi Saleh, near Ramallah, Israeli soldiers fired tear gas and sprayed demonstrators with skunk water as protesters retreated during the weekly Friday demonstration. 

Palestinians smash holes in Israel's wall

Palestinian youths smashed holes in Israel's separation wall in East Jerusalem on July 9. The protest marked the ninth anniversary of an International Court of Justice advisory opinion that ruled the wall illegal and called for its removal. Activists declared the anniversary a national day for the destruction of the wall. In Eizariya, dozens of youths tore two holes in the wall before Israeli forces arrived and dispersed them with stun grenades and plastic-coated steel bullets, Fatah official Mohamed Amin said. "The destruction of a portion of the wall is a protest to the daily raids at al-Aqsa holy mosque. The Palestinians have a right to break the barriers and the wall to reach Jerusalem and protect its holy sites from the Israeli violations," Amin told Ma'an News Agency.

West Bank lawyers to strike after police assault

The union of lawyers in the West Bank announced June 13 that attorneys would suspend all their activities this weekend after anti-drug police in Bethlehem assaulted a lawyer. The union said in a statement that all its offices would be shut down in all West Bank districts, and called upon all members of the union's general assembly to join a sit-in in front of the district attorney's office. "We were shocked and couldn’t believe that a group of anti-drug police officers in Bethlehem assaulted a lawyer and strip searched him in a humiliating manner," the statement said. "What shocked us even more was that the district attorney was present and the attackers received instructions directly from the attorney general."

Clashes across West Bank on war anniversary

Demonstrators in the West Bank on June 7 joined mass protests to mark the Global March to Jerusalem, and dozens were lightly injured as Israeli forces tried to disperse them. In al-Maasara, near Bethlehem, participants in a weekly march suffered tear-gas inhalation. Demonstrators raised Palestinian flags, pictures of prisoners and Palestinians killed by Israel to mark the anniversary of the Six-Day War. Israeli forces fired stun grenades and tear-gas canisters at the demonstrators.  Activists praised the unity of Palestinian people and promised more activities to protest Israeli actions. 

Israel frees Palestinian ex-minister after two years

Israel on June 6 released former Palestinian Minister of Prisoner Affairs Wasfi Qabaha, ending his two-year detention without charge or trial. Previous to the two years in administrative detention, Qabaha had been detained by Israel nine times and spent 13 years in jail. Qabaha was released at Jubara checkpoint, northwest of Nablus, where he immediately collapsed, sustaining severe bruising. He was taken to hospital in Tulkarem and underwent minor surgery. At the checkpoint, Qabaha told Ma'an News Agency that the Israeli Prison Service mistreated Palestinian and Arab detainees and had worsened oppressive measures since Jordanian prisoners staged a hunger strike. 

Israeli settlers use chemicals to destroy olive trees

A group of Israeli settlers destroyed over 100 olive trees in a Nablus village on May 25 after spraying them with toxic chemicals, a Palestinian Authority official said.  Ghassan Daghlas, who monitors settlement activities in the northern West Bank, told Ma'an News Agency that settlers from the notoriously extreme Yizhar settlement sprayed toxic chemicals on some 100 trees, causing them to die. The trees belong to local residents Barakat Ghalib and Taysir Najjar, Daghlas added. The PA Ministry of Agriculture tested a sample from the trees and says it found traces of chemicals, without providing further details. Settlers routinely attack Palestinians and their property with impunity.

Monastery loses court battle over West Bank wall

A Catholic monastery and convent in the secluded  Cremisan Valley outside Bethlehem lost a seven-year legal battle against the construction of Israel's "separation barrier" across its land on April 24. The wall will surround the convent and primary school on three sides, confiscating most of its land.  A small gate will be built to allow nuns and monks to access the Salesian Monastery and Convent in order to "guarantee their right of freedom of religion." The gate will also allow farmers and landowners to access their lands on the other side of the wall, although they will need permits to reach them.

Issawi calls for 'rage and solidarity' on Prisoners Day

Long-term hunger striker Samer Issawi on April 17 called for "rage and solidarity" to mark Palestinian Prisoners Day. "Greetings to all without exception. I urge all the noble people of our Arab and Muslim nation as well as the free people of the world to turn April 17 into a day of rage and solidarity with Palestinian prisoners," Issawi wrote in a letter sent through his lawyer from his hospital bed. "The voice of those heroes who have sacrificed and are still making sacrifices for the sake of the freedom of their people and land, and in defense for Muslim and Christian holy places in the holiest spot on the globe, should be heard."

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