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1 killed, 2 injured in Israeli shelling at Deir al-Balah
Clashes with Israeli forces spill onto Bethlehem main streets
Published Friday 17/01/2014 (updated) 19/01/2014 11:15
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The Israeli separation wall as it cuts through Bethlehem near the site of
Friday's clashes. (MaanImages/Alex Shams)
BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- Clashes between Palestinian youth and Israeli forces spilled over onto Bethlehem's Manger Street on Friday, after two weeks of daily confrontations in nearby Aida refugee camp.

Local activist Salah Ajarma told Ma'an that clashes between protesters and Israeli forces took place in the area around Rachel's Tomb on the main road leading through Bethlehem from Jerusalem to Hebron as well as on nearby Manger Street.

Israeli forces fired tear gas canisters at protesters as they threw rocks towards the soldiers, who blocked off Bethlehem's main streets.

There were unconfirmed reports by local activists and eyewitnesses that one protester was injured in the clashes due to excessive tear gas inhalation.

On Saturday, residents of Azza refugee camp, located near the scene of Friday's fighting, will hold memorial services to commemorate the one year anniversary of the death of Salah al-Amarin.

The 15-year-old boy was shot dead by Israeli forces during clashes in Aida refugee camp last January.

The clashes in Bethlehem come after nearly two weeks of daily clashes between Israeli forces and youth in Aida refugee camp near Rachel's Tomb.

At least three protesters have been injured in the clashes in Aida refugee camp, two due to live bullets and one due to rubber bullets, according to Ajarma.

A border police spokesman could not be reached for comment.

The areas around the holy site are a frequent site of clashes because it is surrounded on three sides by the Israeli separation wall despite being in the middle of the Palestinian city of Bethlehem.

There are 19 refugee camps in the occupied West Bank, within which live about a quarter of the 771,000 registered refugees in the territory.

More than 760,000 Palestinians -- estimated today to number 4.8 million with their descendants -- were pushed into exile or driven out of their homes in the conflict surrounding Israel's creation in 1948.
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1 ) Colin Wright / USA
18/01/2014 20:24
This is fairly typical. 'Rachel's tomb' is one of several possible locations for the supposed burial site of the mythological figure of Rachel -- and is first noted as being treated as such two thousand years after the supposed Rachel died. On the other hand, the particular site in question indubitably is the Bilal bin Rabah mosque. So call it that.

2 ) Concepta Flynn / Ireland
18/01/2014 22:55
#1: Colin - Thank you for explaining about this particular site of interest in Bethlehem; Bilal bin Rabah Mosque. I hope the mosque is clearly marked on the tourist map, along with the Church of the Nativity when tourism to Bethlehem is expanded shortly. My friends & I would love to visit. I was so inspired by the Mayor Vera Baboun's Christmas speech & the lovely Christmas live stream Maan gave us from Manger Square. Palestine looks to be such a lovely place.

3 ) Rachamim Dwek / Israel
19/01/2014 15:09
Another interesting historical fact Colin wont dare discuss is that in 638 CE/AD the first Arab arrived in Bethlehem, a town whose very name is Hebrew (Beit Lechem=House of Bread). When that first Arab arrived as an INVADER and CONQUEROR the indigenous Jews had enjoyed 1,322 years of collective sovereign rule. The Byzantines, also invaders but who preceded Arabs, stood side by side with indigenous Jews in defending the town. Arabs, who today have 21 nations, are NOT native to the Levant.

4 ) Concepta Flynn / Ireland
19/01/2014 21:03
@3) - Rachamim Dwek: Thank you for adding to my knowledge about this this wonderful place. The long history of Bethlehem (Beit Lechem) is very interesting & I shall tell my friends, so that when we visit we will be able to steep ourselves in history.
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