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Israeli forces suppress Jerusalem-area protests in support of prisoner hunger strike

April 20, 2017 12:21 P.M. (Updated: April 20, 2017 3:59 P.M.)
JERUSALEM (Ma'an) -- At least one Palestinian was injured and another was detained by Israeli forces during events in the Jerusalem area in support of hunger-striking prisoners on Wednesday.

Local popular committee spokesperson Hani Halabiyeh said that a march set off from the center of the village of Abu Dis in the occupied West Bank district of Jerusalem on Wednesday evening, in solidarity with some 1,500 Palestinians currently forgoing food for the fourth day in a row to denounce incarceration conditions in Israeli custody.

Initially called for by Fatah-affiliated prisoners, hundreds of Palestinian prisoners from across the political spectrum have pledged their commitment to undertake the strike which began at midnight on Monday.

As the march approached the illegal Israeli separation wall -- which cuts off occupied East Jerusalem from the rest of the West Bank -- near al-Quds University, Israeli soldiers fired tear gas and rubber-coated steel bullets at the protesters, Halabiyeh said.

The Palestinian Red Crescent reported that Israeli forces shot and injured a Palestinian youth in the face with a rubber-coated steel bullet, while at least 11 people suffered from excessive tear gas inhalation during the clashes.

An Israeli army spokesperson told Ma'an that they were looking into the reports.

Earlier on Wednesday, Israeli police detained at least one Palestinian resident of East Jerusalem participating in a solidarity sit-in outside of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) headquarters in the neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah.

Israeli police officers interrupted the sit-in, taking pictures of the protesters -- which included relatives of imprisoned Palestinians -- before detaining Nour al-Shalabi for allegedly shouting “inciting” slogans.

Footage of the demonstration showed participants notably chanting “With our souls, with our bloods, we you prisoners,” a common Arab political slogan.

Meanwhile, Israeli forces also dismantled a tent in support of the mass hunger strike in the Issawiya neighborhood of East Jerusalem on Wednesday afternoon, firing sound bombs at demonstrators.

Israeli police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld told Ma’an that he was not aware of the incidents.

In addition to repressive measures imposed on hunger-striking prisoners by the Israel Prison Service, Israeli forces have suppressed a number of demonstrations across the occupied Palestinian territory in solidarity with the prisoners.

Israeli authorities have detained approximately one million Palestinians since the establishment of the state of Israel in 1948 and the subsequent occupation of the West Bank, East Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip in 1967, according to a joint statement released on Saturday by Palestinian organizations.
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