Dozens of Palestinians have been wounded in separate incidents in the occupied West Bank, sources told Al Jazeera, as tensions increase amid the intensifying Israeli bombardment of the besieged Gaza Strip.
At least eight Palestinians were wounded on Thursday when a group of settlers from an illegal settlement attacked Duwwaneh village near Hebron, Al Jazeera’s Nida Ibrahim, reporting from Ramallah, said. Four of them needed hospitalisation, according to local sources.
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Separately, at least 34 Palestinians were wounded in confrontations with the Israeli army overnight in various locations across the West Bank, Ibrahim added.
The latest round of injuries occurred as Palestinians in the occupied West Bank took to the streets in solidarity with Palestinians in the Gaza Strip.
On Wednesday, Palestinian teenager Rashid Abu Arreh was fatally shot by the Israeli army in Tubas, north of Nablus, according to the Palestinian health ministry. Hours earlier, 26-year-old Hussein al-Titi, 26 had been shot dead during protests against the Israeli army in the al-Fawwar refugee camp, medical sources said.
Ibrahim said the type of Palestinian injuries in the occupied West Bank, which have mostly occurred in the district of Hebron, show the extent of the Israeli crackdown.
“It is an exceptionally high number of injuries by live fire,” Ibrahim said, “which is showing us that the situation could be escalating rather quickly.”
The Israeli military has said Hamas began firing rockets at Israel late on Monday, following days of protests of the expulsion of Palestinian families from the Sheikh Jarrah neighbourhood in occupied East Jerusalem and resulting Israeli police raids at the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound.
Israel launched a series of air attacks on the Gaza Strip that have killed at least 83 Palestinians, including 17 children, according to Palestinian health officials. At least seven Israelis have been killed in the escalation.
The violence has also seen a spike in inter-communal violence in religiously “mixed” cities across Israel such as Lod, Acre and Haifa, including attempted lynchings, the destruction of property, and the burning of religious sites.
‘Complete and violent repression’
Speaking to Al Jazeera from Ramallah, researcher and writer Mariam Barghouti said the Israeli security forces’ treatment of Palestinians in both Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories displays “Israel’s discriminatory practices”.
“But more than this, it reminds us that we are Palestinians,” she said. “We are no longer seeing it as divided. The border lines that have been drawn for us are completely blurred by Palestinians,” Barghouti added.
“The complete and violent repression of the Israeli police in places like Haifa is showing how no coloniser will ever give equal rights, will ever give the right of the people who are native to the land.”
Barghouti said the upcoming May 15 anniversary of the 1948 creation of the state of Israel, which is marked annually as Nakba – or catastrophe – by Palestinians, will not be “commemorated” but instead “confronted”.
“The Nakba is ongoing. Sheikh Jarrah is displacement. Haifa is displacement,” Barghouti said. “What Israel is doing is it’s trying to complete what it started in 1948.”