Ramallah — Protests took place across the West Back and in Jerusalem on Tuesday as part of a general strike by Palestinians in response to theof Gaza and Israeli policies in the West Bank and Jerusalem. Four protesters were shot and killed and dozens more sustained gunshot wounds after clashes with Israeli forces, according to the Palestinian Ministry of Health. The Israeli military said two Israeli soldiers were injured in their legs and had to be hospitalized.
In Ramallah, where protesters said there was the largest demonstration to take place so far since violence broke out between Israel and Hamas over a week ago, around 1,000 people took to the streets.
Some demonstrators hurled stones at Israeli soldiers perched on a hill about 300 yards away, as well as at the other side of a field. They also burned tires.
Israeli soldiers fired tear gas and live rounds at the protesters there.
“We are out today in response to the call for the general strike… also in support to Gaza, Sheikh Jarrah, and Jerusalem. We are trying to give one message that we are one people, one country, one land for the whole Palestinians,” 55-year-old Maisoon Ali told CBS News.
She said that Israel’s bombing of Gaza, which has so far killed at least 213 people, had left her heartbroken.
“We support and we feel what they suffer. … We are all human. If they [the Israelis] want to hurt us, we need to hurt them,” she said. “Tel Aviv is not better than Gaza. People that are living in the settlements are not better than the Palestinians.”
Israel says its airstrikes are targeting Hamas militants, whose rocket attacks on Israel have killed at least 12 Israelis since the violence flared up last week.
The Israeli military said some demonstrators in Ramallah opened fire at Israeli soldiers. Demonstrators in the West Bank often throw stones, but it is uncommon for them to be armed.
“I’m here today because it makes me feel like I’m doing the best I can in order to stand against the colonizer who has taken over my land, who has taken over my rights to move, who has taken over my right to express myself in any way possible,” said Ranim, who is a 21-year-old student. “I stand here with my family and friends.”
She said hearing about the intense bombardment of Gaza made her feel powerless.
“It makes me understand the most that I don’t have anything. It shows me how weak I am, standing against a soldier. Standing against a gun put to my head,” she said.
“Being aware of that makes me confident that what I’m doing here today is my right, is my duty, and it’s something that has to be done, even if it’s against arms, because I don’t have any other means. So violence only makes me more aware of my stand as a Palestinian.”
In addition to protests, many Palestinians-owned businesses were closed Tuesday as part of the strike.