Riots Break Out in Jerusalem, West Bank Over Palestinian Prisoners

Flares Are Shot in the Old City

By JTA and Reuters

Published February 22, 2013.
  • Print
  • Share Share

Palestinian protesters reportedly fired flares and hurled stones at Israeli troops in the Old City in Jerusalem amid violent protests in the West Bank.

Several dozen Palestinians began hurling rocks at troops stationed outside the Mugrabi Gate after Friday prayers, Ynet reported on Feb. 22.

When the troops pursued the men into the Temple Mount compound, other men fired flares at them. None of the Israeli soldiers was injured.

The Temple Mount, the site of Judaism’s ancient temple which overlooks the Western Wall, is home to two mosques considered among the most holy in Islam. Clashes there have sparked extended conflict in the past.

From the precincts of Jerusalem’s al-Aqsa mosque, both one of Islam’s holiest sites and revered by Jews as the site of their Biblical temple, youths threw stones at Israeli police after Friday prayers.

Dozens of Israeli officers briefly entered the politically sensitive compound. Witnesses said officers fired tear gas and threw percussion grenades at the demonstrators as bystanders and elderly worshippers ran for cover.

A police spokesman said no tear gas was fired, but that protesters were throwing firecrackers.

In parallel, Israeli forces clashed with Palestinian protesters throughout the occupied West Bank on Friday, capping a week of violence amid a hunger strike by four Palestinians in Israeli jails.

Tension and anticipation is rising in the West Bank a month before U.S. President Barack Obama is due to visit Jerusalem and Ramallah, though he has announced no concrete plans to revive Israeli-Palestinian peace talks stalled for three years.

The old city of Hebron, a bitterly contested city in the southern West Bank sown heavily with Israeli settlers, echoed with percussion grenades hurled by Israeli forces at some 1,500 Palestinian protesters.

At a military checkpoint near the northern city of Nablus and outside a military prison in the central West Bank, Israeli forces worked to clear away makeshift roadblocks and fired rubber bullets towards stone-throwing Palestinians.

There were dozens of light injuries from gas inhalation and rubber and aluminium bullets, witnesses said.

Palestinians seek statehood in territories Israel captured in a 1967 war. Peace talks broke down in 2010 over Palestinian objections to Israel expanding settlements on occupied land. Israel has called for resuming the talks without preconditions.

HUNGER STRIKERS IN LIMBO

The status of four hunger-striking Palestinian detainees was in limbo as Israeli civilian courts failed to rule definitively in hearings held for two of them this week, referring their multi-decade sentences back to military courts.

Israel convicted the men of taking part in militant attacks and freed them along with hundreds of other prisoners in a 2011 swap for Gilad Shalit, an Israeli soldier held in Hamas-ruled Gaza for five years, only to re-arrest them soon afterward.

Lawyers and officials representing the men, who were accused by Israel of violating the terms of their release, say their cases are locked in a legal maze and Palestinian officials hope Egyptian mediation could convince Israel to free them.

“Our prisoners …(on) hunger strike are engaging in a true battle, a battle of glory against the tyrant,” said Ismail Haniyeh, Gaza’s Hamas prime minister. “No one of us will forget the prisoners. No one would enjoy being with his children at home as long as those heroes continued to suffer in jails.”

The hunger strikers have told representatives of an independent Israeli medical group, Physicians for Human Rights, that they are taking water but refusing medicines and nutrients.

There is little exact information on the health of the strikers, whose on-off hunger strikes have ranged from around 80 to over 200 days, as they have repeatedly refused treatment and been denied regular access to independent doctors.

Israel holds around 4,700 Palestinians in its prison on charges ranging from throwing stones to killing Israelis.

Palestinians widely regard them as heroes of their national struggle against Israel and want them all freed.


The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.





Find us on Facebook!
  • Law professor Dan Markel waited a shocking 19 minutes for an ambulance as he lay dying after being ambushed in his driveway. Read the stunning 911 transcript as neighbor pleaded for help.
  • Happy birthday to the Boy Who Lived! July 31 marks the day that Harry Potter — and his creator, J.K. Rowling — first entered the world. Harry is a loyal Gryffindorian, a matchless wizard, a native Parseltongue speaker, and…a Jew?
  • "Orwell would side with Israel for building a flourishing democracy, rather than Hamas, which imposed a floundering dictatorship. He would applaud the IDF, which warns civilians before bombing them in a justified war, not Hamas terrorists who cower behind their own civilians, target neighboring civilians, and planned to swarm civilian settlements on the Jewish New Year." Read Gil Troy's response to Daniel May's opinion piece:
  • "My dear Penelope, when you accuse Israel of committing 'genocide,' do you actually know what you are talking about?"
  • What's for #Shabbat dinner? Try Molly Yeh's coconut quinoa with dates and nuts. Recipe here:
  • Can animals suffer from PTSD?
  • Is anti-Zionism the new anti-Semitism?
  • "I thought I was the only Jew on a Harley Davidson, but I was wrong." — Gil Paul, member of the Hillel's Angels. http://jd.fo/g4cjH
  • “This is a dangerous region, even for people who don’t live there and say, merely express the mildest of concern about the humanitarian tragedy of civilians who have nothing to do with the warring factions, only to catch a rash of *** (bleeped) from everyone who went to your bar mitzvah! Statute of limitations! Look, a $50 savings bond does not buy you a lifetime of criticism.”
  • That sound you hear? That's your childhood going up in smoke.
  • "My husband has been offered a terrific new job in a decent-sized Midwestern city. This is mostly great, except for the fact that we will have to leave our beloved NYC, where one can feel Jewish without trying very hard. He is half-Jewish and was raised with a fair amount of Judaism and respect for our tradition though ultimately he doesn’t feel Jewish in that Larry David sort of way like I do. So, he thinks I am nuts for hesitating to move to this new essentially Jew-less city. Oh, did I mention I am pregnant? Seesaw, this concern of mine is real, right? There is something to being surrounded by Jews, no? What should we do?"
  • "Orwell described the cliches of politics as 'packets of aspirin ready at the elbow.' Israel's 'right to defense' is a harder narcotic."
  • From Gene Simmons to Pink — Meet the Jews who rock:
  • The images, which have since been deleted, were captioned: “Israel is the last frontier of the free world."
  • As J Street backs Israel's operation in Gaza, does it risk losing grassroots support?
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.