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Thousands of Palestinians in West Bank protest against Trump's deal

Dozens injured in clashes with Israeli forces as fresh protests are planned for Thursday
Palestinian protesters confront Israeli soldiers during a demonstration in the West Bank against US President Donald Trump's peace proposals, on 29 January 2020 (AFP)
By Shatha Hammad in Ramallah, Occupied West Bank

Thousands of Palestinians protested on Wednesday in dozens of towns and villages in the occupied West Bank against US President Donald Trump’s “peace deal” announcement, while Israeli forces shut down the Old City of Jerusalem and Al-Aqsa compound.

On Tuesday, Trump unveiled new details of his long-touted plan to address the Israel-Palestine conflict. The 181-page document contained conceptual maps showing how Israel and a future Palestinian state could look if Palestinians agreed to sign up to the plan, which was endorsed at the White House by Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Palestinian leaders rejected the proposals.

At Wednesday's protests, Palestinians raised their national flags and chanted “Down with the deal of the century” and “Palestine is not for sale”.

According to the Red Crescent, 41 Palestinians were wounded in clashes with Israeli forces in the towns of Tulkarm, al-Bireh and Arroub refugee camp and in villages north of the Jordan Valley.

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It reported injuries sustained from rubber-coated bullets and cases of suffocation from inhaling tear gas.

In the Jordan Valley, Palestinians protested in al-Hamra and Toubas villages against Israel's intentions to annex the area, which is one of the critical points included in Trump’s deal.

The Israeli army had installed checkpoints, fired stun grenades, tear gas and rubber-coated bullets at protesters. At least 11 people were reportedly wounded in the north of the Jordan valley.

Israeli forces briefly held the media teams of state-run Palestinian news agency Wafa and Palestine TV and confiscated the media cards of several journalists, preventing them from covering the protests and marches.

Old City of Jerusalem 

Meanwhile, Israeli forces arrested two Palestinians inside Al-Aqsa Mosque compound, claiming that they were carrying knives. They shut down the gates to the compound and the Old City gates, preventing people from entering or exiting the city.

Palestinians in East Jerusalem called for a demonstration on Thursday at the Damascus Gate, one of the main entryways that lead into the Old City, to protest against the proposed deal that they say aims to embolden Israeli settlers' presence in the city.

In Hizma town, north of East Jerusalem, Palestinian protesters clashed with Israeli forces stationed at the nearby military checkpoint.

The West Bank

In Ramallah, the seat of the Palestinian government, protests erupted in several parts of the city, including at the north entrance of al-Bireh and in Jabal al-Taweel and the villages of Nabi Saleh and Beit Sira, west of Ramallah.

Israeli forces arrested and beat up one Palestinian, 14-year-old Wissam al-Qadi, in Jabal al-Taweel, local media said.

The Palestine health ministry in Ramallah said that one Palestinian suffered injuries from a live bullet to his chest at a protest in Beit Sira, and was in stable condition.

Palestinian factions called for protests at 1pm local time on Thursday, starting from the town of al-Bireh toward the DCO checkpoint, which is near the headquarters of Israel’s Civil Administration that runs the occupied West Bank and is headed by Israeli military commanders.

In Hebron, a 14-year old Palestinian suffered a head wound after getting shot by Israeli forces during a protest at Arroub refugee camp. The Israeli army also arrested three others, Ahmed Aref Al-Raai, Ahmed Amir Abu el-Khiran and Fouad al-Sbaateen.

The Israeli army fired dozens of tear gas grenades towards the houses of Arroub refugee camp, resulting in tens of residents suffocating.

Similarly in al-Fawwar, south of Hebron, and in Bethlehem, tens of Palestinians suffered from tear gas inhalation.

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