Footage uploaded by the Shehab News Agency of the same incident appeared to show at least one Israeli police officer discharge a gun at point-blank range into the leg of a Palestinian protester already lying prone on the ground.
According to Ma'an News Agency, a Palestinian news service, 18 Palestinian youth were injured by rubber-steel bullets amid clashes in the environs of Ramallah on Wednesday. An Israeli army spokesman told the news agency that its forces responded to rock-hurling and molotov cocktail-throwing "instigators with live fire."
Andrea Bernardi, a Jerusalem-based AFP video journalist who documented the incident, described its build-up as a seemingly routine scene on any given "Day of Rage" in Ramallah when Palestinian students protest the occupation outside Israeli settlements. But then it took a dramatic turn. Bernardi detailed the clash in a blog post:
The agents had arrived after the clashes had started and had been among the protesters for a while before making themselves known. It was impossible for the protesters to recognise the enemy was among them -- during West Bank clashes everyone wears masks, be it an old T-shirt or the Palestinian keffiyeh. The agents -- be they Jews, Druze, Israeli Arabs or Bedouins -- all speak Arabic and physically look like the demonstrators.Having arrived with their backpacks, their sneakers and bright coloured T-shirts, in Barcelona or France football jerseys, the agents blended perfectly among the student protesters. After the clash, they all walked toward the army vehicles, a green Hamas scarf still hanging from his backpocket.
As my colleague William Booth reported earlier, the violence is part of a series of clashes that have gripped parts of Israel and the West Bank, as tensions soar between Israelis and Palestinians. Three separate lone-wolf knife attacks carried out by Palestinians on Jewish Israelis also took place on Wednesday.
The escalation was dubbed by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as "a wave of terror," though Israeli opposition groups criticized the Israeli leader for being unable to deal with the rising animosities. The current turmoil is just the latest articulation of the dire state of the collapsed peace process between Israel and its Palestinian interlocutors. Settlements like Beit El are considered illegal under international law and are frequent flash points where Palestinians protest what they see as their dispossession by the Israeli state.
The beleaguered Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas called for calm, stressed his opposition to violence and his support for "a popular, nonviolent struggle" for Palestinian rights.
According to Booth, the Palestinian Red Crescent reported that 970 Palestinians have been injured in clashes with Israeli security forces since Saturday, including 66 people who were shot.
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This post has been updated with new information.