Purim Pandemonium

One Palestinian killed as riots, demonstrations shake the West Bank

UPDATE: Riots intensify, 4500 on prison hunger strike

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Riots throughout the West Bank intensified on Sunday, as Palestinians stepped up their attacks on Jews and the IDF and 4,500 security prisoners went on a hunger strike.

The violence followed a bloody weekend in which one Palestinian was killed and another died in prison of unknown causes. The riots have been relatively restrained, mostly involving rock-throwing.

Palestinian officials have been speaking of the riots as a "third intifada," something they are no doubt hoping for.

The Times of Israel quotes one former P.A. minister explicitly saying, "All of the incidents reveal a clear trend – we’re facing an intifada.... We’re sitting on a barrel of dynamite." He cited the death of Arafat Jadari in Israeli custody as "the match that lit it."

Whether this actually turns out to be true remains to be seen, but there is no doubt that Palestinian leaders are convinced that another intifada will work to their advantage.

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West Bank Palestinians made this year's Purim a bloody one, with at least one rioter killed as a series of demonstrations swept the West Bank.

Unrest has been intensifying in the West Bank for several days, and the IDF expected violence to erupt over the holiday weekend, due to Palestinian anger over hunger strikes undertaken by jailed terrorists and the anniversary of Baruch Goldstein's massacre of dozens of Palestinians in 1994.

On Friday, riots erupted in the Old City of Jerusalem and the Temple Mount, eventually being dispersed by Israeli security forces using non-lethal weapons. Violence also broke out in Hebron and near Ofer Prison, where Palestinian terrorists are often held.

The only confirmed fatality thus far occurred near the village of Qusra during a clash between Jewish settlers and Palestinian rioters. One Palestinian was killed by gunfire, which the IDF believes was fired by a settler.

Palestinian leaders appear to be hoping that there will be more violence, with the Times of Israel quoting an Islamic jihad official saying that "What’s taking place in the West Bank now is the first sign of a third Palestinian uprising."

Another factor at work may well be President Barack Obama's upcoming visit to Israel. The Palestinians may be hoping that, as has worked for them in the past, violence will garner both the attention and sympathy of foreign powers who can then pressure Israel into making concessions.

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