On 8 July, Israel commenced hostilities in the Gaza Strip, killing approximately 210 Palestinians, including 153 civilians - of which at least 37 are children. In light of the Israeli attacks targeting Palestinians in the Gaza Strip, thousands of international supporters across the world have staged demonstrations against Israeli policies conducted in the Gaza Strip and in solidarity with the Palestinians. There were also protests in the main cities in the West Bank, as well as in Israel, attended by hundreds of demonstrators.
On 10 July, at approximately 10:00 pm, around 250 Palestinians demonstrated in Jenin, near the main square of the city, in solidarity with the people of the Gaza Strip and in protest against the killings of Palestinian children and civilians there. During that time, officers from the Palestinian National Security and Palestinian Police were positioned at different locations in the city, including the intersections leading to the Israeli checkpoint of al-Jalama. Approximately thirty minutes into the demonstration, there was a call among the protestors to reach the checkpoint, and they began walking in that direction in small groups.
The PA security forces prohibited the protestors from moving forward on al-Nasra Street in the direction of the checkpoint. The Palestinian forces closed down the street and spread more officers along it. However, some protestors managed to reach the middle of al-Nasra Street by using bypass roads. There, clashes erupted between the protestors and PA security officers. Stones were thrown by the protestors at the PA officers while the latter retaliated by firing two bullets in the air as well as tear gas canisters at the protestors. The clashes lasted for about one hour and resulted in the arrest of approximately nine protestors. These protestors were brought before the Palestinian judicial system and were accused of disrupting public order as well as attacking Palestinian security officers.
On 11 July, another protest in solidarity with the people of Gaza took place in ‘Anabta, Tulkarem, where the protesters attempted to reach the Israeli checkpoint of ‘Ennab. In that case, the PA security forces also prevented the protestors from reaching the checkpoint. No clashes were reported between the demonstrators and the PA officers; however, the protestors denounced the PA’s policies towards them. In Ramallah, two protests took place on 10 and 11 July in solidarity with the Gaza Strip. In both incidents, Palestinian security forces prevented the demonstrators from reaching Beit El checkpoint.
As a human rights organisation dedicated to the promotion and protection of human rights in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT), Al-Haq is extremely concerned with the growing number of civilian casualties and property destruction in the Gaza Strip. Furthermore, Al-Haq stresses that the rights to freedom of assembly and expression should be respected by the Palestinian Security Forces at all times and therefore condemns the suppression of these protests.