The Palestinian revolt spread across the West Bank on Friday, while Israel sent troops to crack down in protests inside its own borders.
One Palestinian news source reported protests took place in more than 200 places across the West Bank—met with fierce repression by the occupying Israeli military.
There was a major protest in Bethlehem, and in other cities including Tulkarem, Qalqilya and Hebron.
Israel Defence Forces (IDF) soldiers reacted with live and rubber-coated metal bullets, stun grenades and tear gas cannisters.
Soldiers killed at least 11 Palestinians in the West Bank on Friday. The Red Crescent ambulance service treated at least 1,757 injuries, including 201 in Bethlehem.
The protests in the West Bank are the latest sign that the revolt—which began with mass protests in Jerusalem last weekend is spreading.
Significantly, there were also protests in solidarity at the borders in neighbouring countries Lebanon and Jordan. Some protesters at both demonstrations crossed the border. Israeli soldiers shot and killed one protester at the border with Lebanon.
The revolt began as protesters resisted attempts to evict Palestinian families in Jerusalem to make way for Israeli settlers. It spread to cities inside Israel’s “official” borders, as Palestinian citizens of Israel marched in solidarity, and fought with Israeli settlers.
The protests have shaken Israel’s politicians and generals, who say they are even more of a threat than rockets fired by resistance groups in Gaza.
Defence minister Benny Gantz approved the transfer of weapons usually used in the occupied territories—such as M16 assault rifles—to the cities in Israel.
Israeli prime minister Binyamin Netanyahu approved the deployment of military forces and the Shin Bet security services, as well as the use of administrative detention. This means Israeli forces can lock Palestinians in prison for long periods without trial.
Netanyahu also told border police sent to crush the protests not to worry about facing investigations or disciplinary hearings.
“We hear talk of apprehension over commissions of inquiry, investigations, inspections—we will give you all the tools to protect yourself and the citizens of Israel,” he said. “You have our full backing, do not be afraid.”
Netanyahu added, “We have no bigger threat now than these pogroms, and we have no choice but to restore law and order via determined use of force.”
Yet Israel’s increasing violence only seems to be encouraging Palestinians to fight back—in every part of Palestine.
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