GAZA CITY, Palestine: Thousands of Palestinians demonstrated Friday in the Gaza Strip, the West Bank and East Jerusalem to mark the anniversary of an uprising against occupation, clashing in places with Israeli forces.
In Gaza’s Nusseirat refugee camp, several thousand people answered a call by the enclave’s militant Hamas rulers to march in commemoration of the Sept. 28, 2000, outbreak of the second intifada, or uprising.
Another rally, near the border fence with Israel, ended with five people suffering the effects of tear gas fired by Israeli troops, Palestinian medical sources said.
An Israeli army spokeswoman said that “approximately 300 Palestinians” had entered a no-go zone adjacent to the fence.
“In order to disperse the gathering ... soldiers used tear gas,” she told AFP.
At the Nusseirat rally, Hamas MP Mushir al-Masri called on West Bankers to launch a fresh revolt.
“We call on the masses of our Palestinian people in the West Bank to revolt against injustice and oppression and declare a third intifada against the Zionist entity,” he said.
In the West Bank city of Hebron, where Hamas has a strong following, stone-throwing protesters clashed with Israeli forces in the city center and Al-Fara camp, witnesses said.
Palestinian medics said that 10 people were lightly wounded by rubber-coated bullets and two by live fire.
And at Beitunia, near Ramallah and close to an Israeli prison where Palestinians are jailed, the army spokeswoman said troops used “riot-dispersal means” against about 150 Palestinians who hurled rocks and rolled flaming tires at them.
There were no reports of injuries at the time.
In Israeli-occupied East Jerusalem, police said they arrested 12 people in confrontations in and around the walled Old City.
Palestinians burned tires and threw stones at policemen, lightly injuring one, following Friday prayers at the flashpoint Al-Aqsa Mosque compound, police spokeswoman Luba Samri said in a statement.
The compound, home to Al-Aqsa and the Dome of the Rock mosque, was the scene of a controversial September 2000 visit by then Israeli Premier Ariel Sharon, which inflamed Muslim sensitivities and was seen as the trigger for deadly violence that soon engulfed the occupied territories.
Over the next four years scores of Palestinian suicide bombers struck inside Israel as Israel sent tanks, bulldozers and fighter jets into cities and towns across the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.
An Israeli-Palestinian summit in early 2005 was seen as signaling the end of the uprising but unrest lingers on.
Jerusalem sees regular clashes between Palestinians and police at the Al-Aqsa compound.
Jews worship at the adjoining Western Wall, venerated as the last remnant of the one supporting the Second Temple complex, which was destroyed by the Romans in A.D. 70.
They are not allowed, however, to pray inside the compound itself, which they say is the site of the biblical Jewish temples.