Israel shoots 2 Palestinians as number of settler attacks hit 313 in West Bank

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Palestinian protesters run for cover during clashes with Israeli Occupation Forces following a demonstration against the expropriation of Palestinian land by Israel in the village of Kfar Qaddum, near Nablus in the occupied West Bank, on December 12, 2014. AFP / Jaafar Ashtiyeh

Published Friday, December 19, 2014

Israeli forces shot two Palestinians in two separate incidents in Nablus, Ma’an news agency reported on Thursday, as the UN put at 313 the number of violent attacks by Israeli settlers against Palestinians and their property in the occupied West Bank in 2014.

Two Palestinians were injured after Israeli soldiers fired live ammunition at Palestinians as they raided their villages east of Nablus Thursday.

Munadel Hanini, member of the Palestinian Popular Struggle Front's central committee, said Tawfiq Hamad Khatatbeh, 16, was shot in the leg in the village of Beit Furik after clashes erupted between Israeli soldiers and dozens of Palestinians in the area of al-Judou.

Hanini said that Khatatbeh was rushed to the Rafidia Public Hospital.

An Israeli military spokeswoman confirmed the incident, claiming that there were "30 rioters hurling stones at forces” who “subsequently responded.”

She said that one "hit" was confirmed and that he "left the scene" and "wasn't evacuated" in an ambulance, adding that Israeli forces were merely conducting a "routine patrol."

Meanwhile in a separate incident, Israeli soldiers shot and injured 22-year-old Ahmad Jamil Sharqawi during an arrest raid in the Nablus refugee camp of Askar early Thursday, Palestinian security officials said.

Several Israeli military vehicles stormed the camp and ransacked the home of Nour Abu Hashya, who stabbed and killed an Israeli soldier in Tel Aviv back in November.

Sharqawi was shot in the hand by Israeli forces and was also rushed to the Rafidia Public Hospital.

Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) repeatedly use excessive force against peaceful protests in the occupied West Bank and annexed Jerusalem.

Earlier in December, Israeli troops shot and wounded two 14-year-old Palestinians in the occupied West Bank.

Raouf Hussein Snubar was hit in the head with a live bullet during clashes at Jelazoun refugee camp. According to medical sources, he had multiple skull fractures.

Meanwhile, Ahmad Mazin was shot and injured by Israeli troops in clashes east of Nablus.

According to a report published Monday by the Ahrar Center for Detainees' Studies and Human Rights, the IOF killed nine Palestinians in November alone, while tens of Palestinians, including children, have been wounded in protests or during Israeli incursions in Jerusalem and West Bank.

Since September 2000, following the Second Intifada, at least 9,100 Palestinians have been killed by Israelis, including 2,053 Palestinian children, the equivalent of one Palestinian child being killed every three days for the past 14 years.

313 “price tag” attacks

On Thursday, a group of Israeli settlers cut off the electricity supply line to a Palestinian home in the village of Burin near Nablus, a local official said.

Ghassan Daghlas, an official who monitors settlement activity in the northern West Bank, said Bilal Eid and his family were left in pitch darkness after dozens of settlers cut off their electricity supply line.

Consequently, clashes erupted between Zionist settlers and local Palestinians.

Daghlas said that Israeli settlers also sprayed "racist graffiti" on the walls of Palestinian homes in the area.

Hate crimes by Israeli settlers against Palestinians and their property, referred to as “price tag” attacks, are systemic and Israeli authorities rarely intervene in the violent attacks or prosecute the perpetrators.

In early December, a group of Israeli settlers stabbed 12-year-old Muath Nouh al-Rajabi in the thigh and shoulder.

A report by the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said that there have been at least 313 incidents of settler violence against Palestinians in the occupied West Bank so far in 2014.

In 2013, OCHA reported at least 399 incidents.

Unrest has gripped annexed Jerusalem and the occupied West Bank on an almost daily basis for the past five months, flaring up after a group of Zionist settlers kidnapped and killed 16-year-old Mohammed Abu Khdeir because of his ethnicity.

Israeli authorities have also allowed Zionist settlers to take over homes in Palestinian neighborhoods both in East Jerusalem and the West Bank, and announced plans to build thousands of settlements strictly for Israeli settlers in East Jerusalem while ignoring Palestinian residents.

In October, Palestinian Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah slammed Israel for failing to hold Zionist settlers accountable for a recent wave of violence against Palestinians in the occupied West Bank.

"The Israeli government has never brought settlers to account for the terrorism and intimidation they commit [against Palestinians]," Hamdallah said.

More than 600,000 Israeli settlers, soaring from 189,000 in 1989, live in settlements across the West Bank and occupied East Jerusalem, in contravention of international law.

The roots of the Israel-Palestine conflict date back to 1917, when the British government, in the now-infamous Balfour Declaration, called for "the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people."

Israel occupied East Jerusalem and the West Bank during the 1967 Middle East War. It later annexed the holy city in 1980, claiming it as the capital of the self-proclaimed Zionist state – a move never recognized by the international community.

(Ma’an, Al-Akhbar)

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