Arabs Riot, Clash with Security Forces
Thousands of Palestinian Authority Arabs continued to riot and clash with security forces on Friday, following prayer services at mosques in Judea and Samaria as well as on the Temple Mount.
According to various reports, dozens of PA Arabs suffered injuries during the clashes. At the same time, one policeman was lightly wounded by a brick thrown at him by Arab rioters in Hevron.
On the Temple Mount, dozens of PA Arabs threw rocks and firecrackers at police forces stationed outside the Al-Aqsa Mosque. In response, dozens of soldiers entered the compound and dispersed the rioters with tear gas and stun grenades. The quiet in the area returned after one Arab was arrested and taken in for questioning.
In Hevron, some 1,500 PA Arabs clashed with security forces. Clashes also took place on the outskirts of Shechem and Ramallah.
PA Arabs have been rioting throughout Judea and Samaria for quite some time, but are now intensifying the riots as a sign of solidarity with four terrorists who are serving time in Israeli prisons and who have gone on a hunger strike as a pressure tactic to get Israel to release them.
The four are Samer Issawi, Tareq Qaadan, Jafar Ezzedine and Ayman Sharawna. The four were released as part of the Shalit deal in 2011 but were rearrested after they violated the terms of their release.
On Thursday, the Jerusalem Magistrates Court handed Issawi eight months for violating his parole. Issawi has already served most of his sentence and as such may be released at the beginning of March, but his fate still lies with a military court, which may send him back to jail for years.
Earlier on Thursday, hundreds of Arabs rioted outside the gates of Ofer Prison, where Issawi is being imprisoned. They were part of some 1,000 Arabs who marched from the nearby village of Beitounia, demanding that Israel release hunger-striking Arab terrorists being held in Israeli prisons.
The Arabs were throwing stones and bricks at Israeli security officials, causing two Israeli reporters to be hurt. Both were taken to hospitals in Jerusalem for treatment.
Israel has several times in the past caved to the pressure and released some hunger strikers. Last year some 2,000 terrorist prisoners went on a mass hunger strike, resulting in an agreement with Israeli authorities.
As part of that deal, Israel made some concessions to the PA, including an agreement to stop placing prisoners in solitary confinement.
Israel’s defense establishment said Friday that the prisoners currently on hunger strike in Israel were jailed for good reason. The reminder came in the wake of statements of concern from the United Nations and European Union.
Sources in the defense establishment noted that the current hunger strikes are a violation of the agreement that was reached with the prisoners after last year’s mass hunger strike.
(Arutz Sheva’s North American Desk is keeping you updated until the start of Shabbat in New York. The time posted automatically on all Arutz Sheva articles, however, is Israeli time.)