Palestine: Five Wounded, Four Arrested in West Bank Protests in Solidarity with Hunger-Striking Prisoners

October 8, 2011
Weekly protests erupted around the West Bank on Friday, resulting in two injuries and the arrests of at least three Palestinians and one German solidarity activist. Demonstrations were held in solidarity with Palestinian political prisoners entering their eleventh day of hunger strikes in Israeli prisons.
In the southern West Bank village of al-Walajeh, a few kilometers west of Bethlehem, Israeli soldiers shot tear gas canisters to suppress a demonstration of about 50 people, mostly youths. Hosam Odah, Mohammed al-Jawarish, and Hamzah Sarasreh, ages unknown, were arrested as well as German solidarity activist Amr Mohammed.
In nearby al-Ma’sara village, two Palestinians named Mahmoud Ala’adin and Mahmoud Zawahireh were injured when Israeli soldiers suppressed a protest. Their injuries were described as “moderate.”
In the central West Bank village of Bil’in, popular committee media coordinator Ratib Abu Rahma said that the Israeli army shot tear gas canisters, sound bombs, and rubber bullets at demonstrating Palestinians. He explained that dozens of Palestinians suffered from “severe tear gas inhalation,” including Palestine TV cameraman Ali Dar Ali and photographer Mohammed Radi.
Violent clashes were also reported in the central West Bank village of al-Nabi Saleh, where three Palestinians were hit by Israeli tear gas canisters. Reporters claimed that in violation of Israeli army open-fire regulations, soldiers fired the canisters directly at protestors instead of over their heads.
Palestinian prisoners in Israeli military prisons have been refusing to eat since September 27 in protest of worsening prison conditions. The strike includes at least 500 people as of Friday, about 7% of the 7,500 total prisoners. It was called after Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu authorized a tightening of prison restrictions designed to force the release of Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit, held by Hamas in Gaza since 2006.

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