March 31, 2010 - 12:00am

A senior official from Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas's Fatah party on Wednesday refused to stand before an Israeli military court, showing a solidarity sign with a group of detainees who were detained with him and being tried separately.

Abbas Zaki, a member of Fatah central committee, was arrested with 11 Palestinians on an Israeli checkpoint in the West Bank during a demonstration this week.

The lawyer, Buthina Duqmaq, told Xinhua that the court postponed its first hearing session to Thursday, without informing the lawyer if the 11 detainees would be brought to stand together with Zaki.

On Monday, Zaki refused to be freed on bail or sign a pledge not to participate in demonstrations near the checkpoints in the West Bank or approach them.

The demonstration was taking place on Sunday near the West Bank city of Bethlehem against Israel's intention to seal off the Palestinian territories during the Passover holidays.

Meanwhile, a Palestinian was wounded by Israeli gunfire during a demonstration near Ofar courthouse, protesting Zaki's detention.

The crowds clashed with the Israeli soldiers who tried to disperse the rally by tear gas and rubber bullets. The youth was injured with a gunshot to the leg, witnesses said.

Some demonstrators succeeded to raise Palestinian flags on the walls of the Israeli army camp in the West Bank which contains the court inside, according to the witnesses.

Palestinians stepped up public resistance, which involves rallies and protests, against Israeli settlement blocs and land seizure in the West Bank, ruled by the Fatah-dominated Palestinian National Authority (PNA).

Last night, Israel arrested four people in raids in the West Bank cities of Hebron, Tulkarem and Qalqilya, witnesses said.

Moreover, Israeli forces enter PNA-controlled areas in the West Bank on daily basis.


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