Three Border Guard officers were lightly injured and two rioters were arrested during clashes that broke out Wednesday between 200 Palestinians and Israeli security forces near Bitunia Checkpoint, near Ofer Prison west of Ramallah.
The protesters, who included a number of Israeli left-wing activists, protested the arrest of 10 senior Palestinian officials during a demonstration on Sunday in Bethlehem. The protest's participants included members of Fatah's
Central Committee Jibril Rajoub, Jamal Muhsein, and Mahmoud al-Aloul.
The rioters tried to break through the checkpoint in order to reach Ofer Prison where the detained senior officials are being held. According to the IDF, the protesters threw stones and caused disturbances. IDF soldiers and Border Guard officers fired tear gas into the crowd.
The checkpoint was closed following the incident.
At the same time, some 50 protesters rioted and threw stones at IDF forces near Shaked Crossing, west of Jenin.
The detained senior Palestinian officials, including Fatah Central Committee member Abbas Zaki and former Palestinian Tourism Minister Ziad al-Bandak, were arrested on Sunday while demonstrating near Rachel's Tomb in Bethlehem.
The Palestinians announced that they would turn their trial into a large-scale protest against the occupation as part of the escalation of the popular struggle
declared by Fatah.
During a press conference Tuesday in Ramallah, Mahmoud al-Aloul said that Fatah is planning to escalate the struggle against the settlements, the separation fence, and what he called "the judaization of Jerusalem," in accordance with the decisions made at the movement's Sixth General Conference.
"We are aware of the fact that the Israelis decided to use more brutal force in order to quash the popular protests, during one of which our brother Zaki was arrested. The see that there is real participation on the side of the leadership and that the popular struggle is moving towards a serious escalation. Our struggle has a price, and we are ready to pay it in accordance with the decisions we made that demand sacrifice," explained al-Aloul.
Shmulik Grossman contributed to this report