Palestinians rallies mark PLO independence declaration
JERICHO, Palestinian Territories - Palestinians held rallies across the West Bank on Wednesday, a day before the 24th anniversary of the Palestine Liberation Organisation's declaration of independence.
AFP reporters said thousands of Palestinians were taking place in demonstrations blocking roads near the West Bank towns of Bethlehem, Jericho and Ramallah.
Demonstrators also gathered near the southern city of Hebron, as well as the northern towns of Qalqilya and Nablus, waving Palestinian flags and chanting slogans against the Israeli occupation.
Chanting "Free Palestine," they carried banners supporting a Palestinian bid later this month to obtain state observer status at the United Nations.
In Atara, north of Ramallah, and at a checkpoint by the city of Bethlehem, Israeli forces fired tear gas to disperse the demonstrators.
An Israeli army spokesman said that "approximately 200 people -- Palestinians and international activists -- were throwing stones" near Jericho.
"The military force at the site is not reacting with riot dispersal means," the spokesman said, "and one soldier was lightly wounded by rocks. The soldiers are reacting with moderation."
The spokesman also said that around 100 Palestinians demonstrated near Nabi Saleh in the central West Bank, and 50 others had attempted to block a tunnel road connecting West Bank city Bethlehem to Jerusalem.