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!
  • How about a side of Hitler with your spaghetti?
  • Why "Be fruitful and multiply" isn't as simple as it seems:
  • William Schabas may be the least of Israel's problems.
  • You've heard of the #IceBucketChallenge, but Forward publisher Sam Norich has something better: a #SoupBucketChallenge (complete with matzo balls!) Jon Stewart, Sarah Silverman & David Remnick, you have 24 hours!
  • Did Hamas just take credit for kidnapping the three Israeli teens?
  • "We know what it means to be in the headlines. We know what it feels like when the world sits idly by and watches the news from the luxury of their living room couches. We know the pain of silence. We know the agony of inaction."
  • When YA romance becomes "Hasidsploitation":
  • "I am wrapping up the summer with a beach vacation with my non-Jewish in-laws. They’re good people and real leftists who try to live the values they preach. This was a quality I admired, until the latest war in Gaza. Now they are adamant that American Jews need to take more responsibility for the deaths in Gaza. They are educated people who understand the political complexity, but I don’t think they get the emotional complexity of being an American Jew who is capable of criticizing Israel but still feels a deep connection to it. How can I get this across to them?"
  • “'I made a new friend,' my son told his grandfather later that day. 'I don’t know her name, but she was very nice. We met on the bus.' Welcome to Israel."
  • A Jewish female sword swallower. It's as cool as it sounds (and looks)!
  • Why did David Menachem Gordon join the IDF? In his own words: "The Israel Defense Forces is an army that fights for her nation’s survival and the absence of its warriors equals destruction from numerous regional foes. America is not quite under the threat of total annihilation… Simply put, I felt I was needed more in Israel than in the United States."
  • Leonard Fein's most enduring legacy may be his rejection of dualism: the idea that Jews must choose between assertiveness and compassion, between tribalism and universalism. Steven M. Cohen remembers a great Jewish progressive:
  • BREAKING: Missing lone soldier David Menachem Gordon has been found dead in central Israel. The Ohio native was 21 years old.
  • “They think they can slap on an Amish hat and a long black robe, and they’ve created a Hasid." What do you think of Hollywood's portrayal of Hasidic Jews?
  • “I’ve been doing this since I was a teenager. I didn’t think I would have to do it when I was 90.” Hedy Epstein fled Nazi Germany in 1933 on a Kinderstransport.
  • 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.