In ‘Day of Rage’ Palestinians Protest US Policy Shift On Israeli Settlements
“The biased American policy toward Israel, and the American support of the Israeli settlements and the Israeli occupation, leaves us with only one option: to go back to resistance.”
Thousands of Palestinians in several West Bank cities, towns, and villages took to the streets on Tuesday in what Palestinian national and Islamic parties described as a ‘day of rage’ against the latest US position towards Israeli settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem.
Palestinian crowds expressed their outrage over the recent US decision to consider Israeli settlements on the Palestinian West Bank as “not breaching international law or relevant United Nations’ resolutions.”
According to official Palestinian News Agency (WAFA), the largest protests were concentrated in Nablus and Hebron cities, where men, women and children, took part.
Demonstrators chanted slogans condemning the US’s move, which comes after a series of previous American administration positions that Palestinians view as pro-Israeli occupation.
In different parts of the occupied West Bank, including Nablus and Hebron, Israeli troops clashed with protesters, using tear gas and rubber-coated steel bullets, Wafa reported.
Al Jazeera estimated that around 77 Palestinian protesters sustained either slight or moderate wounds due to tear gas inhalation or rubber-coated steel bullets fired by the Israeli army in many West Bank areas.
Al Jazeera quoted one of the leaders of the demonstrations, senior Fatah leader Mahmoud Alalloul, during a protest in the West Bank city of Ramallah: “The biased American policy toward Israel, and the American support of the Israeli settlements and the Israeli occupation, leaves us with only one option: to go back to resistance.”
Alalloul’s Fatah party, headed by Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, made the call for the “day of rage” after the party vehemently condemned the US’s latest shift on Israeli settlements activities, dubbed illegal by international law and United Nations’ relevant resolutions, the last of which was passed in 2016.
Among the slogans raised by demonstrators were: “Trump’s decision is null and void and steadfastness on our land is the right decision,” “Trump’s decision is simply bestowing a property that is not of his own, to those who do not have any given right to that property,” and “the occupation and its settlers must get out of our lands.”
WAFA New Agency published footage of Tuesday’s demonstrations throughout the West Bank.
Tuesday’s protests came hours after a Palestinian prisoner, Sami Abu Diak, 35, was pronounced dead in one of Israeli jails after a battle with cancer. Palestinian national and Islamic forces, along with the Palestinian Authority (P.A.), have previously called for the release of Abu Diak.
The P.A. appealed to the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and the European Union to pressure Israel for the release of the now-dead detainee. Israel did not respond to the call.
Arrests and Violence
Early on Wednesday morning, the Israeli army arrested several Palestinian activists from different parts of the West Bank, including four in Hebron city and two others in the occupied East Jerusalem, WAFA News Agency reported.
WAFA also reported that dozens of armed Israeli settlers attacked Palestinian passersby with stones and empty bottles on a main road between the West Bank cities of Jenin and Nablus. No injuries were reported.
The Gaza Strip
Later on Tuesday evening, Israeli media reports said that three Palestinian rockets were fired from Gaza into nearby Israeli towns. They added that the Israeli air defense systems, known as the Iron Dome, intercepted two of the Palestinian rockets. No causalities or damage were reported.
Hours later, Israeli warplanes targeted a number of sites that belong to armed Palestinian resistance factions, mainly the ruling Hamas party. There were no causalities but damages were reported, according to Palestinian sources in Gaza.
The new wave of trade of fire in Gaza came less then two weeks after Israeli army had assassinated a senior resistance leader of the Islamic Jihad group in Gaza. The Islamic Jihad and some other Gaza-based armed factions, excluding Hamas, retaliated with hundreds of projectiles into nearby Israel, causing few slight injuries among Israelis.
Israeli air raids by then had killed 36 Palestinians, including a total of 9 members of same family, when one of the Israeli air raids targeted the family’s home in central Gaza Strip.
Also on Tuesday, the ruling Hamas party in Gaza handed over a written consent agreeing to hold general elections to the head of the West Bank-based Palestinian Elections Committee, Dr. Hanna Naser, who visited Gaza for the third time in a month ahead of planned elections.
Palestinian Authority’s President, Mahmoud Abbas, who on Tuesday flew to the Qatari capital, Doha for talks with the Qatari Emir Tameem Bin Hammad, is expected to issue a presidential decree with specific dates for holding both presidential and parliamentary elections in the near future.
Both Hamas and Fatah party of Palestinian President, Mahmoud Abbas, have been at logger heads, since Hamas has taken over Gaza and ousted Fatah from the territory, in 2007. Since having been split, both major parties have agreed to a series of unity deals, including those of 2011 and 2017. None of those deals has seen the light.