On Thursday night near the Kalandia checkpoint located in the West Bank, some 10,000 Palestinians protested and threw rocks at Israeli security forces in response to the fatal shelling of a United Nations school.
The protestors, demonstrating in support of Hamas and its conflict with Israel, poured into the streets when Israeli security forces opened fire Thursday evening, Palestinian lawmaker Mustafa Barghouti said.
On Friday, Palestinian leaders called for a “day of rage,” in what is being called one of the largest West Bank protests in years.
According to CNN:
Israeli police posted additional officers in Jerusalem ahead of the protests, spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said on Twitter. Police had deployed between 3,000 and 4,000 officers to prepare for expected violence, the Jerusalem Post newspaper reported.
Meanwhile, Secretary of State John Kerry was meeting with U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shukri Friday, and the Israeli Security Cabinet was meeting in closed session. But it was unclear if a deal to at least temporarily end the violence was near, or that Hamas would accept it.
Hospital officials in Ramallah said three protesters had been killed, but revised that to one killed and three others in critical condition and on life support. About 200 protesters were injured, as well as 13 Israeli police officers.
More than two weeks of violence has claimed more than 800 lives, most of them civilians. Israeli newspaper Haaretz reported Friday that Kerry was hoping to announce a temporary cease-fire agreement, followed by negotiations between Israel and Hamas to reach a lasting end to the violence.
Meanwhile, statesman and Israeli president Shimon Peres retired from his post at age 90 on Thursday.
Peres, who is a believer in the two-state solution, stepped down with a defense of his country’s operation in Gaza. “Israel is not the enemy of the people of Gaza,” he said, urging the country to “practice equality for all its citizens.” Reuven Rivlin, a right-wing member of the prime minister’s party, was sworn in.
We’ll keep you updated with the latest from Gaza.