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Israeli forces have arrested at least four protesters who threw stones at a barrier built in the occupied West Bank, as Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas warned that Israel will face a “very severe reaction” if it does not dismantle the barrier.
The Palestinian Authority and the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) called on Abbas to meet his Israeli counterpart Yasser Arafat for talks on the issue on Monday.
Abbas said that the barrier has to be removed in order for the Palestinians to achieve the goals of the two-state solution, according to Palestinian media reports.
The Israeli police said the demonstrators were throwing stones at the barrier at a checkpoint in the central West Bank city of Hebron.
They were arrested and released on bail, and are being investigated.
The barrier, built on Palestinian land, is a key feature of the “Jerusalem Declaration” that Israel signed with the Palestinians in 2007.
It blocks some 1,100 Israeli-controlled homes in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, which are under the control of Hamas, the militant group that runs Gaza.
A Palestinian security official told The Associated Press that Israeli forces used tear gas and rubber bullets against the protesters and confiscated their weapons.
A security official said that about two dozen Palestinian youths threw stones, and a few of them injured an Israeli security officer who was hit in the leg.
A senior PA official told Al Jazeera that Palestinian youths attacked the barrier during the morning prayer in the Old City of Jerusalem.
He said the barrier had been built on a private property of the PA, and that it was against its law to build on private land.
The official said the PA had issued a decree to the army to demolish the barrier on Monday, but that the army had not yet responded.
The PA also said the security barrier had caused “significant damage” to the city.
The PA, which is backed by Israel, says the barrier is a violation of international law.
In recent years, a series of Palestinian attacks have targeted the barrier, including a series last month when several Palestinians threw rocks at it.
An Israeli security official denied the Palestinians’ accusations that the police had fired rubber bullets at protesters.
A spokesperson for Abbas’ Fatah party said the government had received “positive reports” of the protest.
The spokesperson said the Palestinians were being treated “fairly”.
Palestinian officials in the Gaza strip have been staging demonstrations in the past week to protest the barrier’s construction, and Palestinian groups have said they are not prepared to accept its removal.