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Palestinians, Israeli activist injured during marches in Kafr Qaddum, Bilin

April 21, 2017 8:08 P.M. (Updated: April 24, 2017 7:14 P.M.)
BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) -- Israeli forces suppressed a weekly march held in the village of Kafr Qaddum in the northern occupied West Bank district of Qalqiliya on Friday, injuring eight Palestinians and an Israeli activist, while a weekly march was also held in the village of Bilin in the Ramallah district.

In the village of Kafr Qaddum eight Palestinians and an Israeli activist were injured during their weekly march.

A journalist, identified as Anal al-Jadaa, a reporter for Palestine TV, was among those injured during the march.

Coordinator for the village’s popular committee, Murad Shteiwi said that Israeli forces had suppressed the march that was held this week by the Fatah movement in solidarity with Palestinian prisoners on an ongoing mass hunger strike, led by imprisoned Fatah leader Marwan Barghouthi.

He said Israeli forces shot rubber-coated steel bullets and tear gas at protesters.

Clashes erupted after Israeli forces raided homes in the village and used them as military posts to open fire at youths, who responded by throwing rock and empty bottles at Israeli forces.

An Israeli army spokesperson told Ma’an she would look into reports.

Residents of Kafr Qaddum began staging weekly protests in 2011 against land confiscations, as well as the closure of the village's southern road by Israeli forces. The road, which has been closed for 14 years, is the main route to the nearby city of Nablus, the nearest economic center.

The Israeli army blocked off the road after expanding the illegal Israeli settlement of Kedumim in 2003, forcing village residents to take a bypass road in order to travel to Nablus, which has extended the travel time to Nablus from 15 minutes to 40 minutes, according to Israeli rights group B’Tselem.

Hundreds of Palestinians have been detained during the demonstrations since their start in 2011, and at least one protester was killed, while scores have been injured by live fire, including more than a dozen children, Shteiwi told Ma'an during a similar protest last year.

Children holding signs reading "With our prisoners in the Freedom and Dignity revolution", "Yes to hunger, no to kneeling down," "Freedom to our brave prisoners"

Meanwhile, in the village of Bilin, Palestinians also used their weekly march to express their support for the hunger strikers.

International and Israeli activists took part in the march and waved Palestinian flags and pictures of hunger-striking prisoners and imprisoned leaders Marwan Barghouthi and Ahmad Saadat.

Protesters marched through the village and repeated slogans and national songs calling for unity and stressing the importance of resisting the occupation and freeing Palestinians from Israeli prisons.

Coordinator of the Bilin popular resistance committee, Abdullah Abu Rahmeh called on Palestinians to increase their support for the hunger-striking prisoners.

There were no reports of direct clashes with Israeli forces and Palestinians, as is typical during Bilin’s weekly marches. However, pictures from the demonstration showed Palestinians throwing rocks and burning tires near Israel's separation wall.

Bilin is one of the most active Palestinian villages in peaceful organized opposition against Israeli policies, as residents have protested every Friday for 12 years, and have often been met with tear gas, rubber-coated steel bullets, and stun grenades from Israeli forces.

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