For the last four days, Palestinian Authority security forces have been deployed on the streets of Bethlehem to quell protests that have raged on Jerusalem-Hebron Road since the murder of Mohammed Abu Khdeir on July 2nd.
From July 4th to the 14th, 17 Palestinian demonstrators, most in their teens and early twenties were shot in the leg by Israeli forces with live ammunition during clashes that featured hundreds of shebab flooding the streets, typically an hour or two after the 8pm Iftar meal. Dozens more have been treated for tear gas inhalation and injuries sustained from rubber bullets.
PA security forces subdued the protests on the evenings of the 15th, 16th and 17th of July but Friday night, activists managed to send them home.
After reaching the sniper tower and Separation Wall at Rachel’s Tomb, Israeli forces briefly clash with Palestinian protesters before retreating back behind the military gate. Shortly after from the adjacent street PA security arrive.
After roughly 12 minutes, older Palestinian activists managed to convince the PA forces to leave, linking arms to shield them as they left. One member of the PA security was reportedly shot with a rubber bullet by Israeli forces and was treated by on site medics.
Palestinian protesters proceeded to throw stones and shoot fireworks toward the Separation Wall at Rachel’s Tomb.
Tear gas is fired into Al Azza Refugee Camp, a community that has suffered especially under the latest round of demonstrations.
Munther Amira, the head of the Popular Struggle Coordination Committee was present at the demonstration. “It’s not their rule to protect Israel.” It was the first time Amira had seen the PA expelled in this way.