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Israel 'suffocates Palestinians' protesting against Qalqilya settlement expansion Open in fullscreen

The New Arab

Israel 'suffocates Palestinians' protesting against Qalqilya settlement expansion

A boy standing in his demolished house in the Palestinian city of Qalqilya [Getty]

Date of publication: 3 March, 2018

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Israeli forces fired tear gas canisters, rubber-coated steel bullets and stun grenades at Palestinian protesters in Qalqilya.
Israeli forces suffocated Palestinians with tear gas in the occupied West Bank as they peacefully protested the expansion of settlements and the recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital city.

Protesters were attacked with tear gas canisters, rubber-coated steel bullets and stun grenades at demonstrators, as they protested the expansion of settlements in the Palestinian village of Kufr Qaddoum.

A number of Palestinian protesters suffocated as a result of the tear gas and were treated at the scene, according to Palestinian Authority official news agency Wafa.

The Palestinian village of Kufr Qaddoum to the east of Qalqilya has in recent months been under threat of demolishment and illegal settlement expansion by Israel. 

Residents of the occupied village have been holding peaceful protests every Friday to protest Israel’s illegal land grab.

Jerusalem has been the centre of Palestinian protests since US President Donald Trump declared the city as Israel’s capital and announced to move the US embassy there. 

Since that declaration 27 Palestinians and two Israelis have been killed in violence that sparked since. Arab and Muslim leaders have warned that there could be a further escalation if the embassy is moved.

Qalqilya was once a regular shopping destination for Israelis and Palestinians. 

Palestinians would cross into Israel freely for jobs, and some locals stilll fondly recall leisurely riding their bikes to Israeli beaches on the Mediterranean. 

But this all changed after a crackdown on Palestinians after the Second Intifada.

Read also: The price Palestinians pay for the neglect of Qalqilya

Qalqilya has been among the quietest cities in the West Bank, and has even been singled out by Israel's nationalist Defence Minister Avigdor Lieberman as a "model" city in the occupied territories. 

Its planned expansion is one of the flagships of Lieberman's "carrot and stick" policies towards Palestinians.

Qalqilya has been illegally occupied by Israel since the 1967 war.

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