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Dozens injured in clashes with Israeli forces during West Bank protests

February 16, 2014 at 3:24 pm

Hundreds of Palestinian, Israeli and European activists protested on Friday across the West Bank in solidarity with the Palestinian hunger strikers in the Israeli jails sparking severe clashes that resulted in several casualties among activists.

After Friday prayer, activists started walking towards the Israeli prison, Ofer, near Ramallah and gathered opposite it to protest at the non-responsive Israeli policy towards demands of the hunger strikers whose issue has attracted the attention of many activists and human rights organizations around the globe.

Ayman Sharawneh has been on hunger strike for about 220 days, Samer al-Issawi for about 205 days and Jaafar Izzidin and Tareq Qedan have spent 90 days on hunger strike. They are protesting against administrative detention with which Israeli courts give the military the right to detain Palestinians without charge allowing them to be held for an unlimited amount of time behind bars without going to trial.

Palestinian paramedics said that 156 protesters were treated for tear gas inhalation in addition to many rubber coated bullet injuries. Among those injured, paramedics added, were several journalists, cameramen and photographers. Activists assert that the hospital has confirmed two injuries from live ammunition.

The leader of the Islamic Movement in Israel, Sheikh Raed Salah, who led the Friday prayer for the gathering, appeared in front of Ofer prison and criticized the Israeli imprisonment policy which he asserted does not stand up to international human rights’ criteria. Palestinian Knesset member, Ahmad Tibi, and Palestinian MP, Mustafa Barghouthi, attended the Friday prayer led by Sheikh Raed Salah.

Activist in Jerusalem and several other West Bank cities reported that clashes erupted between protesters and the Israeli forces.