Israel detains 67 Palestinians in the West Bank

Ahram Online, Wednesday 13 Aug 2014

The West Bank has witnessed increasing tensions between security forces and protesters paralleling Israel's Gaza offensive

West Bank
Palestinian protesters run after Israeli troops fired tear gas during clashes at a protest against the Israeli offensive in Gaza, in the West Bank town of Bethlehem August 1, 2014 (Photo: Reuters)

Israeli troops detained 67 Palestinians in the West Bank and Jerusalem early on Wednesday, state news agency MENA reported.

Palestinian sources told the agency that the whole operation – implemented within three hours – started by breaking into the homes of Palestinians.

Sixty people were detained in Jerusalem and its surrounding villages, along with five others in the West Bank city of Hebron. In the northern West Bank city of Jenin, two youth were also captured.

"This is the largest campaign of arrests by Israel since mid-June; Palestinian houses were destroyed in Jerusalem and women and children were injured as clashes erupted," MENA quoted Nasser Qaws, director of the Palestinian Prisoners Club, as saying.

The head of organisation – which advocates on behalf of Palestinians in Israeli custody – added that the Israeli forces fired rubber bullets during clashes.

Palestinian-Israeli tensions in the West Bank have heightened recently, coinciding with Israel's offensive on the Gaza Strip. In the past four days, Israeli troops killed three Palestinians, Reuters reported.

Human Rights Watch accused Israel on 4 August of "unlawfully" killing two Palestinians who joined protests in the West Bank against Israel's military offensive in the Gaza Strip on 25 July. 

HRW pointed out that the "available evidence” – mainly medical reports and sources – showed that they died of gunshot wounds caused by live ammunition.

"A third man at the same protest also appeared to have been killed unlawfully. Although he was witnessed throwing stones, he was 35 metres away when he was shot and could not have posed an imminent deadly threat to Israeli forces," the international rights organisation said.

In its report, HRW stated that some offenses by Israeli forces in the West Bank as part of their occupation could be "subject to prosecution as war crimes."

On 24 July, Palestinian factions in the West Bank declared a "Day of Rage" after night clashes around the West Bank and in some sectors of the Israeli-annexed East Jerusalem.

As a result of security concerns, occupation forces have regularly barred men under 50 from completing Friday prayers Jerusalem’s Al-Aqsa mosque.

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