Palestinians, Israeli troops clash after demonstrations


A Palestinian youth throws a Molotov cocktail towards Israeli security forces during clashes at the entrance of the Jalama checkpoint, near the West Bank city of Jenin, on February 15, 2013.


Saif Dahlah

Palestinian protesters clashed with Israeli troops and border police Friday near the Bituniya crossing in the West Bank.

Between two and three hundred Palestinian protesters were demonstrating in support of a hunger striker in Israel's Olef prison.

Ynet News reported that one soldier was injured and over 100 Palestinians, as tear gas and rocks were exchanged.

The demonstrators were calling for the release of Samer Issawi, 35, who has been on an intermittent hunger strike in the prison for months, reported the Jerusalem Post.

Issawi was released from prison in 2011 in exchange for Israeli soldier captured by Hamas, Gilad Shalit, but was re-arrested by Israel authorities last year for violating his release terms.

He had been sentenced to prison for 26 years for "terror activity," reported Ha'aretz but served only six before the swap.

Ynet News reported that Israeli prison authorities said that Issawi is under medical supervision.

Issawi's sister has also been on hunger strike for 206 days. 

Ha'aretz reported that Middle East envoy Tony Blair said in a statement about the incident: 

"This issue needs to be resolved quickly in order to avoid a tragic outcome which has the potential to destabilize the situation on the ground."

Other protests also took place around the West Bank and at Israeli border crossings.