Palestinians protest US settlement decision in ‘day of rage’

West Bank, Thousands of Palestinian protesters took part in a “day of rage” across the occupied West Bank on Teusday , with some groups clashing with Israeli forces to protest the US announcement that it no longer believes Israeli settlements violate international law.

Around 2,000 people gathered in the West Bank city of Ramallah by midday, where they set ablaze posters of US President Donald Trump as well as Israeli and American flags. Schools, universities and government offices were closed and rallies were being held in other West Bank cities.

“The biased American policy toward Israel, and the American support of the Israeli settlements and the Israeli occupation, leaves us with only one option: To go back to resistance,” Mahmoud Aloul, an official with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’ Fatah movement, told the crowd in Ramallah, the associated Press (AP) reported.

Demonstrators held signs reading: “Trump to impeachment, (Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin) Netanyahu to jail, the occupation will go and we will remain on our land.”

At Israeli checkpoints near Ramallah, Bethlehem and Hebron, dozens of protesters threw stones at Israeli forces who responded with tear gas. There were no immediate reports of injuries.

Later in the evening, the Israeli military said it identified two rockets fired from the Gaza Strip at southern Israel. One was intercepted by an Iron Dome missile battery. It was the second such attack in as many days by Palestinian militants, and Israeli aircraft retaliated with attacks on several Hamas sites in Gaza. There were no reports of injuries.

The protests came just hours after the death of a Palestinian prisoner in Israeli custody following a battle with cancer. Organizers had said the demonstrations which were planned before his death would also call for the release of Sami Abu Diak, 35, to allow him to die at his family’s side. Israeli officials denied the request.

Organized by Fatah, Tuesday’s “day of rage” protested the Trump administration’s announcement on Israeli settlements last week. The decision upended four decades of American policy and embraced a hard-line Israeli view at the expense of the Palestinian quest for statehood.

Israeli leaders welcomed the U.S. decision, while the Palestinians and most of the world say the settlements are illegal and undermine hopes for a two-state solution by gobbling up land sought by the Palestinians.

Source: Bahrain News Agency