Israel's plan to include West Bank religious sites in a Jewish heritage plan is a clear provocation but the Palestinians will not be dragged into violence, the Palestinian prime minister said on Friday.
Protesting at what he said was a politically-motivated move by Israel, Salam Fayyad attended Friday prayers in Hebron near the Cave of the Patriarchs, one of the sites included in the heritage plan announced this week.
The plan, which has triggered daily stone-throwing protests by Palestinians in the ancient city this week, has been described by Palestinian politicians as another obstacle in the way of US efforts to broker a resumption of peace talks.
"We will not be dragged to violence by the terrorism of the settlers, and the terrorism of the settlement project," Fayyad added.
"Our people understand all the dimensions of this political decision but they are determined to respond by building a positive reality on the ground," he told Reuters. "This is what we call a quiet revolution."
Islamic Jihad in the Gaza Strip also protested the heritage plan, with thousands of Palestinians taking part in a protest organized by the group. Its leaders called on Arab governments to deport Israeli ambassadors from their territory.
Islamic Jihad spokesman Daoud Shihab said the protest proves that the Palestinians are in a constant state of turmoil following the government decision on the heritage plan.
He also uttered a veiled threat, saying "the occupation will have a difficult time because we will not be satisfied with protests and marches, but will have a different way of dealing with Israel's moves".
Shihab added that Israel was trying to destroy mosques in Jerusalem, including the Al-Aqsa Mosque. "We will continue efforts at an intifada in the West Bank, despite the persecution of our people by the Palestinian Authority's security forces," he said.
Earlier Friday dozens of young Palestinians rioted and hurled stones at IDF forces in Hebron. The soldiers responded with crowd dispersal means. There were no reports of injuries, but one of the protestors was arrested and taken in for questioning. IDF sources said some of the protestors were carrying Hamas flags.
The United Nations' culture and education body expressed concern about Israel's new heritage plan as well as the rising tensions it has bred in the West Bank.
Earlier this week Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said he intended to include the Cave of the Patriarchs, Rachel's Tomb, and several other Jewish religious shrines in a $107 million plan to restore heritage sites.
Ali Waked contributed to this report