JERUSALEM — Israel has approved the transfer of tax revenues it collects on behalf of the Palestinians in a bid to reduce tensions in the West Bank after a week of demonstrations.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu demanded the Palestinian leadership take steps to reduce the protests, according to a text message sent to journalists Sunday by an Israeli government official. The message to the Palestinians was conveyed by Netanyahu’s chief envoy, Yitzhak Molcho, according to the official, who commented anonymously because he wasn’t authorized to speak on the record.
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Demonstrations have been held throughout the week in the West Bank in support of four Palestinian prisoners hunger-striking to gain early release from Israeli jails. The protests intensified after Israel announced Saturday that another prisoner had died from a heart attack, with over 3,000 jailed Palestinians holding a one-day hunger strike Sunday.
Palestinian Minister of Prisoners Issa Qaraqi said Israel was responsible for the prisoner’s death “due to medical negligence and bad treatment.” An independent international committee should be formed to investigate the circumstances, Qaraqi said in a Ramallah press conference Sunday.
Israeli troops used tear gas and stun-grenades to disperse crowds of stone-throwing Palestinians in and around the West Bank city of Hebron Sunday, said an Israeli army spokeswoman, speaking anonymously in accordance with military regulation.
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