Beit El, Occupied West Bank – Israeli security forces killed 11 Palestinians across the occupied West Bank, as multiple protests erupted amid growing anger over the escalation of Israeli airstrikes in Gaza and the threat of forced eviction of them. Palestinians from their homes in East Jerusalem.
The Palestinian health ministry said 10 Palestinians were killed by Israeli forces during protests across the occupied West Bank on Friday, and another was killed in an attempt to stab an Israeli soldier near an Israeli settlement illegal in Yabad, near Jenin.
After Friday prayers, thousands of Palestinians demonstrated in more than 200 locations across the West Bank. More than 500 Palestinians were injured across the territory as protesters were hit by Israeli bullets, tear gas and live fire, the Palestinian Red Crescent said.
Hundreds of Palestinians in Jordan also attempted to crowd the Jordanian border with Israel on Friday, but were arrested by Jordanian security forces, while Palestinians in southern Lebanon attempted to cross the border with Israel.
The protests occur in the midst of a escalation in days of fighting between Israel and Hamas, which rules the Gaza Strip. Israel on Friday unleashed more airstrikes and tank fire on the Gaza Strip, while Palestinian armed groups continued to launch rockets at Israel from the besieged coastal enclave.
At the Beit El checkpoint in al-Bireh, near Ramallah in the occupied West Bank, hundreds of Palestinians from rival political factions Hamas, Fatah and the Left Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) marched together – to alongside those with no political affiliation – songs of support for Gaza and the Palestinian residents of East Jerusalem.
The sound of actual Israeli gunfire and rubber-coated steel bullets cracked through the air as ambulances circled back and forth carrying the injured, as plumes of smoke soared through the air because of the tires set on fire by the demonstrators.
Malak Abu Rab from Ramallah told Al Jazeera that she was participating in the march with her daughter, Tuleen 13, and son Jad, 10, to support those killed in Gaza, as well as Palestinians in East Jerusalem who were threatened with death. expulsion of Sheikh. Jarrah and the hundreds injured in recent Israeli police raids on the city’s Al-Aqsa Mosque.
“In Jerusalem, Israeli settlers, backed by soldiers, are trying to drive people out of their homes, a behavior that Israel has been engaged in for decades, and it is time to stop it,” she said. declared.
“Palestinians speak the same language on these issues and their feelings are the same.”
The fighting escalates
Friday’s deaths brought the total number of Palestinians killed by Israeli fire in clashes in the West Bank to at least 13 since Monday, when Israel launched airstrikes on the besieged Gaza Strip in response to Hamas rocket attacks .
Gaza’s health ministry says at least 126 Palestinians, including 31 children, have been killed and more than 900 injured in the enclave since the start of the latest wave of violence.
The Israeli military has launched more than 600 airstrikes on the enclave in recent days and massed troops and tanks near Gaza as the fighting escalated.
At least seven people in Israel have been killed in more than 2,000 rocket attacks launched by armed groups in Gaza since Monday.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu vowed that the offensive against Gaza would continue “if necessary to restore calm to the State of Israel”, despite international calls for an immediate end to all hostilities.
The latest escalation in violence follows weeks of tension in occupied East Jerusalem during a now postponed hearing on the forced eviction several Palestinian families from their homes in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood to make way for Israeli settlers.
The tension in the city also spread at the Al-Aqsa Mosque complex, which Israeli forces attacked on three consecutive days during the last week of Ramadan, firing tear gas and stun grenades at worshipers in the city. inside the mosque and injuring hundreds of people.
In Beit El, banker Salama Khalil, 42, said he was participating in the protest with his son Saji, 13, to show his solidarity with the people of Gaza against “terrorism perpetrated by the Israeli army on Palestinians ”.
“The stupidity of the Israelis who try to evict the Palestinians from their homes in Sheikh Jarrah and their repeated invasions in Al-Aqsa have succeeded in uniting the Palestinians inside Israel and Gaza, the West Bank, Jordan in Lebanon and even internationally, “he said. .
“There is a good chance that we are heading for a third intifada if there is no hope and no peace process,” he added.
“The Palestinians are not going to disappear.”