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West Bank clash as settler fires on Palestinian funeral

Ma'an News Agency

A funeral procession in the West Ban town of Beit Ummar erupted into clashes between Israeli forces and locals on Nov. 20, after a man in an unmarked vehicle, initially identified as a Jewish settler, fired towards the group and Palestinian mourners responded by throwing stones. Israeli forces shortly arrived at the scene, and started firing tear gas at the Palestinians. Soldiers also stormed into two Palestinian houses, using the roof as a base to fire on Palestinians below. Troops threw a tear gas canister inside the truck of a local resident, who suffered injuries. Israeli forces also closed the road through the area and shut ordered shop-keppers to shut down their stores. An Israeli army spokesperson later told the independent Ma'an News Agency the man who fired on the procession was an army official traveling in a civilian vehicle paid for by the army. (WAFAMa'an News Agency, Nov. 20)

West Bank Freedom Riders
On Nov. 15, Israeli police detained six Palestinians calling themselves "West Bank Freedom Riders" who boarded a Jerusalem-bound bus used by Jewish settlers. The activists say they drew inspiration from 1960s US civil rights campaigners who used the same tactic to oppose segregated buses. The group of six protesters gathered at a West Bank bus stop and waited for an Israeli bus to pick them up, then tried to enter Jerusalem, in what appears to be a first. Palestinians from the West Bank are not allowed to cross into Jerusalem without Israeli permission, while Jewish settlers of course have free access. The activists were arrested when they refused to leave the bus at a checkpoint near the city. (BBC News, Nov. 15)

Gaza air-strikes continue
Israel carried out several air-strikes on the Gaza Strip over the past week. On Nov. 14, a strike on what the Israeli army called a "terror activity center" in the northern Gaza Strip left one police offer dead and four of his colleagues wounded. Also injured in the attack was a French diplomat and two family members. The French consul and his 13-year-old daughter were injured by shrapnel, and his pregnant wife miscarried. "France strongly condemns the consequences of the air raid," French foreign ministry spokesman Bernard Valero said in response to the incident. (Ma'an News AgencyMa'an News Agency, Nov. 16)

Despite the Fatah-Gaza deal to unite the separate Palestinian administrations in the West Ban and Gaza, little progress has been made. The Hamas-led government in the Gaza Strip has ordered the Fatah-controlled Bank of Palestine to pay nearly $100 million in what it says are back taxes, and is preventing 11 board members from leaving the Strip. In 2010, Hamas security forces were reported to have seized $400,000 from a bank in Gaza after the Palestinian Authority froze transfers due to regulatory concerns and accusations of money laundering. (Ma'an News Agency, Nov. 21)

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