Israel Demands Palestinians End Widespread Protests

West Bank Demonstrations Flare After Death of Detainee

Unrest Spreads: Widespread protests have erupted across the Israeli occupied West Bank. Israel demanded calm, but the Palestinian Authority did not respond to the call.
getty images
Unrest Spreads: Widespread protests have erupted across the Israeli occupied West Bank. Israel demanded calm, but the Palestinian Authority did not respond to the call.

By Reuters

Published February 24, 2013.
  • Print
  • Share Share

Israel on Sunday demanded the Palestinian Authority stem a surge of anti-Israeli protests ahead of U.S. President Barack Obama’s visit to the region next month.

A senior aide to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas gave no indication the Authority, which exercises limited self-rule in the occupied West Bank, would issue any call for calm, and blamed Israel for the spike in unrest.

The death in an Israeli jail of a Palestinian detainee on Saturday and an on-going hunger strike by four inmates have fuelled tensions in the West Bank, where stone-throwing protesters clashed again with Israeli soldiers on Sunday.

Some 3,000 prisoners held a one-day fast on Sunday after the detainee’s death, which Israel said was caused by a heart attack, an explanation challenged by Palestinian officials.

“Israel has conveyed to the Palestinian Authority an unequivocal demand to calm the territory,” an Israeli government official said, adding the message was delivered by one of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s top aides.

As an apparent incentive to Palestinian leaders to intervene, Israel pledged to proceed with this month’s transfer to the Authority of around $100 million in tax revenues that it collects on its behalf.

Israel began withholding the funds, money the Palestinian Authority badly needs to pay public sector salaries, after Abbas secured U.N. de facto recognition of Palestinian statehood in November.

Under international pressure, Israel announced it would release $100 million to the Palestinian Authority last month.

In the latest clashes, hundreds of Palestinian protesters, in several towns and villages in the West Bank, hurled stones at Israeli soldiers, who responded with tear gas and stun grenades.

There were no reports of serious injuries in the confrontations, after a wave of violent protests last week in solidarity with the four hunger-striking prisoners.

Some 4,700 Palestinians are in Israeli jails, many of them convicted of anti-Israeli attacks and others detained without trial. Palestinians see them as heroes in a statehood struggle, and the death of any of the hunger-strikers would likely trigger widespread violence.

Prisoners affiliated with Hamas, the Islamist militant group that governs the Gaza Strip, issued a call for a new Palestinian uprising.

Abbas said in an Israeli television interview three months ago he would not allow a third armed Intifada to break out and that Palestinians would pursue their cause peacefully.

Amos Gilad, a senior Israeli Defence Ministry official, questioned whether the protests were just a tactical move by the Palestinians to draw international attention before Obama’s visit to Israel, the West Bank and Jordan.

But he added, in an Israel Radio interview: “Things can get out of control.”

OBAMA AGENDA

Netanyahu has said Iran’s nuclear programme would top the agenda of his meetings with Obama, but that the talks also would deal with Israeli-Palestinian peace efforts stalled since 2010.

Yasser Abed Rabbo, a senior Abbas aide, said Israel’s treatment of prisoners and anti-Palestinian violence by Jewish settlers were “the cause of the deterioration”.

Israel said it would carry out an autopsy of the body of Arafat Jaradat, the 30-year-old prisoner who died on Saturday. Israel’s Prisons Authority said he had not been on a hunger strike and had been examined by an Israeli doctor during an interrogation on Thursday.

The first Palestinian uprising began in 1987 and ended in 1993, when the Oslo interim peace accords were signed.

The second Intifada broke out in 2000 after the failure of talks on a final peace settlement. Over the following seven years, more than 1,000 Israelis died, half of them in suicide attacks mostly against civilians, and more than 4,500 Palestinians were killed by Israeli forces


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!
  • "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?
  • What Thomas Aquinas might say about #Hamas' tunnels:
  • The Jewish bachelorette has spoken.
  • 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.