The Middle East Channel

Palestinian protesters and Israeli soldiers clash in the West Bank

Thousands of Palestinian protesters clashed with Israeli soldiers in the West Bank city of Hebron. The protesters were mourning the deaths of two teenagers, Amer Nassar and his cousin, Naji Balbisy, who were killed by Israeli soldiers during protests ignited by the death of a 64 year-old Palestinian prisoner who had cancer. Palestinians accuse Israel of delaying Maissara Abu Hamdiyeh's diagnosis and treatment; but Israel maintains its medical care for Abu Hamdiyeh was forthcoming. Many of the protesters called for a third intifada and twenty-one Palestinians were injured by rubber bullets and tear gas during the clashes. According to Mahmoud Abbas, the President of the Palestinian Authority, "It seems that Israel wants to spark chaos in the Palestinian territories...Israel, on every occasion, is using lethal force against peaceful young protesters, and peaceful demonstrations are being suppressed with the power of weapons. This is not acceptable at all." Mark Regev, spokesman for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, replied that "We are concerned that there are elements in the P.A. that seem to refuse to jettison the harsh language of confrontation, and try to exploit different incidents to stir up trouble." The protests come days before Secretary of State John Kerry is scheduled to travel to the region. Meanwhile, the UN Relief and Works Agency, which provides aid for 800,000 Gazans, has suspended its food distribution services in Gaza after protesters stormed its compound in anger over aid cutbacks.

Syria

The Syrian government verbally attacked Jordan and Turkey for their roles in the country's civil war. Broadcast via the state news media, Syria accused the Turkish prime minister of lying and warned Jordan they were "playing with fire" by providing the opposition with arms and training. In an interview to be broadcast on Friday, Bashar al-Assad lashed out at the Arab League, saying the group "lacks legitimacy." "Real legitimacy is not accorded by organizations or foreign officials...legitimacy is that which is granted by the people," Assad added. Meanwhile, Filippo Grandi, commissioner general of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency, said that refugees fleeing the Syrian civil war are inadequately provided for and on the verge of overwhelming the resources of the United Nations and their host countries. "This is the type of crisis that humanitarian agencies at some point cannot handle any more," he said. "It's unmanageable and dangerous." Meanwhile, a slew of rockets hit Barzeh district, a neighborhood in northeast Damascus. At least five people died and many others were buried under the debris. According to the Local Coordination Committees, there were fierce clashes in Zabadany and Abadeh, both suburbs of Damascus. Opposition groups have reported that at least 132 people were killed yesterday.

Headlines

Iran and world powers resumed nuclear talks in Kazakhstan. Iran announced that it will present a new proposal for its nuclear program.

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Saudi Arabia has sentenced a man to paralysis for the stabbing and paralysis of his childhood friend ten years ago. According to Saudi media, the perpetrator could be paralyzed if he is not able to pay the victim adequate compensation.

--By Jennifer Parker

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