Several Palestinians and three Israeli journalists were injured Thursday as thousands of Palestinians demonstrated at the Beitunia military checkpoint near the Ofer Prison outside Ramallah, calling for the release of inmates who are on a hunger strike.
Dozens of the protesters threw stones at security forces and burned tires. The police dispersed the crowd using tear gas and rubber-coated bullets, injuring five. Palestinian reports later claimed dozens were injured.
Channel 1 journalist Yoram Cohen was hit in the head by a stone and was taken to hospital for medical attention. Channel 10 reporter Roy Sharon and photographer were also injured and received treatment on the spot.
The demonstrators were demanding the release of hunger-striking prisoners Samer Issawi, Ayman Sharawneh, Tareq Qaadan, and Jafar Azzidine. Issawi has been on hunger strike for over 200 days.
Other protests were being held across the West Bank.
According to media watchdog Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America (CAMERA), Issawi and Sharawneh were previously jailed for long prison sentences for terrorist activities, but were released in 2011 as part of the prisoner exchange deal that secured the freedom of kidnapped Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit. Both men were since re-arrested on charges that they continued to engage in militant activities against the terms of their release. Tariq Qaadan and Jafar Ezzedine are both from Arabe near Jenin and are both are senior Palestinian Islamic Jihad operatives.
On Tuesday Fatah officials warned of an increase in violence in the West Bank if the prisoners were not immediately released. United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon urged a solution to prisoners crisis and raised particular concern over their being held in administrative detention without a trial.
On Wednesday Israel’s Supreme Court rejected a petition for the release of Sharawneh.
The Times of Israel covers one of the most complicated, and contentious, parts of the world. Determined to keep readers fully informed and enable them to form and flesh out their own opinions, The Times of Israel has gradually established itself as the leading source of independent and fair-minded journalism on Israel, the region and the Jewish world.
We've achieved this by investing ever-greater resources in our journalism while keeping all of the content on our site free.
Unlike many other news sites, we have not put up a paywall. But we would like to invite readers who can afford to do so, and for whom The Times of Israel has become important, to help support our journalism by joining The Times of Israel Community. Join now and for as little as $6 a month you can both help ensure our ongoing investment in quality journalism, and enjoy special status and benefits as a Times of Israel Community member.