West Bank Turmoil: An Unexpected Death Raises the Tension

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Street protests broke out in West Bank last week in support of Palestinians held in Israeli jails. They focused on the plight of four inmates who had been on lengthy hunger strikes in the Ofer prison, near Ramallah. Then, over the weekend, Palestinian prisoner Arafat Jaradat, who was not on a hunger strike died under disputed circumstances, prompting more demonstrations. Jaradat’s funeral was held in Sa’ir, near Hebron, West Bank on Feb, 25, 2013. The day saw clashes both in Hebron and near the Ofer south of Ramallah. There has been speculation in the media, both in Israel and internationally, that the new turmoil could the be the beginnings of a third Intifadeh, or uprising. (The first Intifadeh lasted from 1987 to 1993; the second from 2000 to 2005.)  The tension was ratcheted up after Gaza militants fired a rocket into Israel, on Tuesday, Feb. 26. It was the first such projectile from the Palestinian territory to hit Israel since Israel-Gaza hostilities last November.

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