Anger ... Palestinian youths in Bethlehem attack the Israeli security wall with stones on Saturday. Photo: Ahmad Mizher
Jerusalem: As the Israeli missiles continue to rain on Gaza to the south, tensions are growing in the West Bank near Jerusalem.
In Bethlehem on Saturday we watched as dozens of young men and boys ran from the Aida refugee camp towards the security wall that blocks their city off from Israel, picked up the stones left from the previous day's protest and hurled them at and over the wall.
Palestinian Authority policemen stood calmly barely a block away. As we passed, one said: "Don't go there. There is gas. Tear gas."
There were similar protests in the West Bank towns of Nablus, Jenin, at the Ofer prison outside the Palestinian capital, Ramallah, and in Hebron. The UN issued a warning not to go there because of reported clashes between Palestinians and the Israeli Defence Forces.
The day before there had been violence between Arabs and Israeli soldiers at the Damascus Gate, the entrance to the Old City in East Jerusalem. On Saturday all was quiet, some stacked metal barricades behind the herb and vegetable sellers the only indication of the previous day's turmoil.
Monjed Jadou, an editor with the Palestine News Network who lives in Bethlehem, said the Bethlehem protests had continued until dark. On Saturday night hundreds gathered in the town square and a special mass was planned for Sunday "to be dedicated to our people in Gaza".
It is not just Palestinians who are protesting against the Israeli Government's military action in Gaza. There was a peaceful protest in Tel Aviv, where earlier on Saturday sirens had again sounded as rockets fired from Gaza came over the city. One fell into the sea just off the main city beach.
So far, no Israelis have been hurt and no property damaged by the long-range rockets that have landed near Tel Aviv and Jerusalem. But the sirens that sounded over the Holy City in the half hour before the beginning of the Sabbath on Friday night were the first to do so since 1970. As much as the city's residents appear to be operating as normal, there are signs of heightened fear: lines of cars at checkpoints between Israel and ?the West Bank on the other side of the Israeli-built security wall are longer than normal, locals say; there are maybe three times as many soldiers at the checkpoints.
On Friday as I drove into Jerusalem by taxi, we passed a protest near the house of the Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu – about 50 Israelis dressed in black held aloft placards reading "Stop the occupation of the West Bank".
The taxi driver, who told me he will vote for Mr Netanyahu in the upcoming elections – "He is a strong leader. He keeps us secure" – rolled his window down and shook his fist at them. "You are a disgrace to Israel," he shouted, and drove on.