Ramallah: At least 216 Palestinians were injured during clashes with the Israeli soldiers southeast of the West Bank city of Nablus.
Fierce clashes broke out on Monday between anti-settlement protesters and Israeli soldiers in the village of Beita, said the Palestinian Red Crescent Society in a statement.
It added that 22 people were shot by rubber bullets, while dozens inhaled teargas fired by Israeli troops, reports Xinhua news agency.
The clashes broke out after seven Israeli ministers, 20 MPs, and more than 17,000 Israeli settlers organised a march towards the outpost of “Avatar” — an unpermitted outpost in the northern West Bank — to demand legalising it.
Palestinian witnesses told Xinhua that thousands of Israeli settlers organised “a provocative march towards the outpost of Avatar near Nablus”.
The Palestinian protesters waved flags, chanted slogans against Israel, burned tires, and threw stones at the Israeli soldiers, who fired teargas and rubber bullets to disperse them, they added.
Condemning the march, Nabil Abu Rudeineh, spokesman of the Palestinian presidency, said: “The settlers’ invasion does not change the fact that it is Palestinian land and will remain so, and that this invasion, which comes by force of arms, does not create a right.”
Abu Rudeineh held the Israeli government responsible for Israeli settlers’ and soldiers’ daily attacks on the Palestinians, and called for an immediate and rapid intervention to stop it.
Israel’s National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir, also a settler and leader of the extreme-right Jewish Power party, said the march that its aim was “to say that the nation of Israel is strong” and that “we are here and will remain here”.
The march took place amid mounting violence, which was sparked by clashes between Palestinian worshippers and the Israeli police at the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound last week.
The raids came at a sensitive time when Muslims are observing the holy month of Ramzan, while Jews were celebrating the Passover holiday.
More than 600,000 Israeli settlers live in dozens of settlements, which were established after Israel occupied the West Bank and East Jerusalem in 1967.
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