Officers guard damaged barrier
Officers guard damaged barrier Israel news photo: Flash 90

Dozens of Arab men held a protest Friday against the security barrier that runs between Abu Dis and Jerusalem.

As part of the protest, the men took large hammers and created a gaping hole in the wall. Several men used the hole to enter Jerusalem without going through a security checkpoint.

The protest was part of the “Nakba Day” events in which Arabs mourn the creation of the state of Israel. "Nakba" means catastrophe.

The protesters say that Border Police fired tear gas and rubber bullets after they broke through the barrier, and that several people were hurt.

Border Police did not prevent the men from damaging the barrier, but have stationed officers at the site to prevent future infiltrations until the hole can be fixed.

The separation barrier was designed to protect Israeli communities from terrorism originating in Palestinian Authority-controlled Arab cities in Judea and Samaria. It was intended to run through much of Judea and Samaria. Construction on the barrier was frozen for years due to budget constraints, but is scheduled to restart this year.

The barrier has faced opposition from both PA Arabs and from some Israelis in Judea and Samaria, who say it splits their communities. Other Israelis support the barrier, saying it prevents terrorist murders. Those opposing them claim that the reduction in terrorism is due to the IDF's returning to areas in Judea and Samaria that it had left because of the Oslo Accords.

A recent video shows PA Arab men freely entering Israel despite the barrier.

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