Palestinian premier says civil resistance way to statehood

Palestinian premier Salam Fayyad said at a protest in the West Bank on Friday that the ongoing civil resistance to Israeli occupation was the right way to achieve statehood.

He was taking part along with other Palestinian leaders in a weekly demonstration near Bilin village, which marked the eighth year of such protests by villagers against the encroachment of the Israeli barrier on their lands.

Protesters clashed with Israeli soldiers who fired tear gas, and Fayyad was forced to breath through a cloth.

"Today we are celebrating the renewal of hope," Fayyad said in a speech, calling what the people of Bilin had achieved in raising awareness of their struggle "a miracle."

"Our people will not take the wrong route; they know very well by instinct and experience what brings success and what brings failure, and they will not err on the way to a Palestinian state," he added.

Fayyad was referring to the recent rise in the number of clashes between Palestinians and the Israeli army in the West Bank during demonstrations in solidarity with detainees.

The clashes, which have resulted in dozens of wounded Palestinians, revived the notion of a possible "third intifada," but the Palestinian leadership has sought to make sure that the events do not escalate into a full-blown uprising.

"The Israelis want chaos and we know it, but we won't let them," Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas said earlier this week.

Weekly protests against the separation barrier are held near Bilin and the nearby village of Nilin.

Clashes also took place in the northern West Bank on Friday, and a military spokeswoman told AFP that hundreds of Palestinians were throwing stones and rolling burning tyres at soldiers at Kafr Qaddum, west of Nablus, and Hawwara.

The army was responding with riot dispersal means, she said, and had detained three Palestinians at Qafr Qaddum and another three at Hawwara.

In east Jerusalem, some 300 Palestinians were clashing with Israeli forces in Abu Dis, the spokeswoman added.

A similar number of Palestinians were protesting a planned road that would infringe on the lands of the village Beit Safafa, and police said eight people were arrested for blocking traffic there.

Israel began work on the barrier in 2002 at the height of the second intifada, and has defended its necessity, pointing to a drop in attacks as proof of its success.

The Palestinians says the barrier is a land grab, pointing out that when complete, 85 percent of it will have been built inside the West Bank.

The International Court of Justice ruled in a non-binding 2004 decision that parts of the barrier built inside the West Bank were illegal and should be torn down, but Israel has not complied.

In 2011, Israel changed the route of the barrier, distancing it from Bilin towards a nearby Israeli settlement, following a high court decision.