Some 800 Palestinians took part in violent demonstrations across the West Bank on Wednesday, following calls by the Palestinian leadership for another “day of rage” in response to US President Donald Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. The protests were originally called to protest the visit of US Vice President Mike Pence, who was due to arrive on Wednesday but postponed his trip.
The largest demonstration took place at the Qalandiya checkpoint between Ramallah and Jerusalem, where hundreds of Palestinians were clashing with Israeli troops, the army said.
Protesters were throwing Molotov cocktails and rocks at troops and setting tires on fire. The soldiers were responding with nonlethal riot dispersal weapons, including tear gas, stun grenades and rubber bullets. An army spokesperson said soldiers had not fired live rounds at protesters.
A spokesman for the Red Crescent disputed the claim, telling The Times of Israel that one of the 27 Palestinians treated by the emergency service was injured by live fire.
In the Qaladiya clashes, four of the treated Palestinians were injured by rubber bullets, 16 by tear gas, one by a fall and one by a direct hit from a tear gas canister, the Red Crescent spokesman said.
In Bethlehem, one was treated for tear gas inhalation, and another two for choking on tear gas in Hebron.
Additionally, one was injured by live fire at a protest in Beit Ummar, a Palestinian village near Hebron.
On Sunday, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’s Fatah faction called for “angry” demonstrations to protest against a Wednesday visit to Jerusalem by Pence after Washington said it would recognize the holy city as Israel’s capital.
However, the White House announced Monday that it had to delay Pence’s visit until an unknown date in mid-January as the Trump administration seeks to push through historic tax reform legislation.
Breaking with decades of US policy, Trump said on December 6 that he would move the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. And, in a move that further angered the Palestinians, a White House official said Friday that the US could not “envision any situation” under which the Western Wall would not be part of Israel.
The moves were welcomed by Israel but have stirred widespread condemnation and sparked angry protests across Arab and Muslim countries, as well as deadly clashes in the West Bank and Gaza. Trump stressed that the city’s borders should be agreed upon between the sides under a peace deal, and that access to holy sites must not be impeded.
The December 6 Jerusalem declaration also prompted Abbas to cancel his meeting with Pence which had been scheduled for Wednesday, and declare that Washington no longer had a role to play in the Palestinian-Israeli peace process.
Judah Ari Gross and Dov Lieber contributed to this report.