Israeli forces disperse West Bank demonstration
JERUSALEM (AP) — The Israeli military said Friday it dispersed 300 stone-throwing Palestinian demonstrators in the West Bank city of Hebron without injuries or arrests.
Smaller clashes also took place at two other West Bank locations — Qalandiya and Kadom — also without injuries or arrests, the army said.
Meanwhile two Israelis were lightly wounded in a fight with Palestinians in east Jerusalem, police say, and five Hamas activists were arrested by the Palestinian Authority Thursday in the West Bank, according to the Islamic militant group. Hamas spokesman Husam Badran said the Palestinian Authority is “trying to kill the Jerusalem uprising.”
The West Bank clashes came amid roiling tensions, mostly over Palestinian claims that Israel wants to change the status quo at a contested Jerusalem holy site.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has denied any plans for the site, known to Muslims as the Noble Sanctuary and Jews at the Temple Mount, but some Netanyahu allies want the prayers allowed.
No incidents were reported there by Israeli police during prayers on Friday, which for the second consecutive week were open to all Muslim worshippers regardless of age.
In recent weeks 11 people have been killed by Palestinian attackers in five incidents, mostly in Jerusalem, but also in Tel Aviv and the West Bank. Five of the Palestinian assailants were killed by security forces.
In response, Netanyahu has ordered a revival of punitive home demolitions — a practice that had largely been suspended since 2005. Earlier this week Israel demolished the east Jerusalem home of one of the attackers, and on Thursday four more demolition notices were issued in east Jerusalem — including to the families of two cousins who carried out a grisly attack on a Jerusalem synagogue Tuesday.
In the Jerusalem incident, police spokeswoman Luba Samri said seven yeshiva students got into a fight with a group of Palestinians and two of the students were lightly wounded.
Samri added that police were being deployed in the area.