Israeli driver hits, kills Palestinian as "price tag" attacks intensify

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Israeli Occupation Forces use pressurized water to disperse Palestinians protesting against illegal Israeli settlement plans in Nablus, West Bank on November 21, 2014. Anadolu / Nedal Eshtayah

Published Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Updated at 5:20 pm (GMt +2): An Israeli bus driver ran over two Palestinians in the northern West Bank, killing one and injuring the other, Palestinian security sources said Tuesday, as Israeli forces detain tens in overnight raids in the occupied West Bank and annexed East Jerusalem.

Nour Hassan Naim Salim, 22, was killed and Alaa Kayid Salim, 20, was injured after being ran over by an Israeli settler driving a bus at the al-Jalama checkpoint in Jenin.

Israeli police and ambulances arrived at the scene and the bus driver was arrested.

Similarly on Monday, an Israeli settler ran over and injured a Palestinian teenager in the Romena neighborhood of West Jerusalem, and on Friday Palestinian woman Suzanne al-Kurd, 29, was also run over by an Israeli settler near the annexed East Jerusalem neighborhood of Shufat.

The Palestine Liberation Organization's (PLO) monthly report stated that one Palestinian child was killed and six others Palestinians injured, four of them children, after being deliberately hit by Israeli settler vehicles in October.

Besides the hit-and-runs, Israeli settlers have also physically assaulted Palestinians across annexed Jerusalem, in the occupied West Bank, and in Occupied Palestine.

On Monday, five Israeli settlers assaulted 19-year-old Mahmoud Ubeid near the illegal Israeli settlement of French Hill, a day after a Palestinian taxi driver from Kafr Qasim in central Occupied Palestine said he was attacked by 17 Israelis in the ultra-Orthodox neighborhood of Bnei Brak after two of them claimed he tried to run them over.

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

A report by the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs said that there were at least 399 incidents of settler violence against Palestinians in the occupied West Bank in 2013.

Unrest has gripped annexed East Jerusalem and the occupied West Bank on an almost daily basis for the past four months, flaring up after a group of Zionist settlers kidnapped and brutally 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.

Last month, 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.

Israeli forces injure Palestinians with "sponge rounds"

Meanwhile, a young Palestinian was hospitalized late Tuesday after an Israeli soldier shot him in the head with a sponge bullet in the al-Tur neighborhood of annexed East Jerusalem, witnesses said.

Medics told Ma'an news agency that the unidentified young man sustained a skull fracture, and was in moderate-to-serious condition.

In a separate incident, Jasir Abu al-Hawa, 55, and his 18-year-old son Ahmed were hit by sponge bullets after Israeli troops fired tear gas and sponge bullets at Palestinian mourners during a funeral in Tur.

According to Majdi al-Abbasi of the Silwan-based Wadi Hilweh Information Center, clashes broke out in al-Luzah and the Bir Ayyub areas of the Silwan neighborhood after Israeli soldiers fired tear gas canisters and sponge bullets at the residents.

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

Tens of Palestinians, including children, have been wounded in protests or during Israeli incursions in Jerusalem and West Bank so far this month.

Saleh Samer Attiyeh Mahmoud, 11, was shot in the face at close range by Israeli forces firing sponge bullets during an Israeli incursion into al-Eisawiya village, north of East Jerusalem. He was hit directly between the eyes, causing severe bleeding to his nose and the loss of sight in his left eye. The vision in his right eye is also severely damaged.

A day later, 10-year-old Mayar Amran Twafic al-Natsheh was left with a fractured skull after a sponge bullet, fired by Israeli forces near the Shufat refugee camp checkpoint, smashed through her grandfather’s car window and hit her in the face.

Sponge rounds are made from high-density plastic with a foam-rubber head, and are fired from grenade launchers. Israeli police have been using them in Occupied Palestine and annexed East Jerusalem since the use of rubber-coated metal bullets was prohibited there, but protocol explicitly prohibits firing them at the upper body.

Israeli forces also fired live ammunition at protesters.

Two seventeen-year-old boys were shot while throwing stones, one in the thigh and one in both the hand and foot, and 38-year-old Nariman Tamimi was shot in the thigh at close range in front of her children and family in the village of Nabi Saleh.

Moreover, two Palestinians, 17 and 19, were shot, one in the shoulder and waist and another in the lower jaw, during an Israeli incursion into Beitin village northeast of Ramallah.

Israeli forces detain physically disabled Palestinian woman

Israeli forces on Wednesday took a physically disabled Palestinian woman from the al-Tur neighborhood into custody during a court hearing for her daughter, family members told Ma'an.

Nadia al-Mughrabi, 54, was detained while attending a hearing at an Israeli magistrate court in Jerusalem for her daughter Amani, who was arrested for defending her mother during an Israeli raid on their home the day before.

According to Mohammed Mahmoud, a lawyer for the prisoner rights group Addamir, Nadia was accused of assaulting a police officer and was hence taken to the Russian Compound interrogation center in Jerusalem for questioning.

Meanwhile, the IOF arrested 13 Palestinians in overnight West Bank raids, sources told Ma'an Wednesday, a day after they arrested 11, including 10-year-old Rachid Abu Sarah, in overnight raids in both East Jerusalem and the West Bank.

An Israeli army spokeswoman said 13 Palestinians were arrested in the West Bank overnight, one south of Nablus, five south of Ramallah, five near Bethlehem, and two south of Hebron.

Moreover, a former Palestinian prisoner in Hebron and two Palestinian women in annexed East Jerusalem were detained during the day Tuesday.

The Palestinian Prisoner's Society (PPS) said in a statement that Israeli forces in Hebron detained former prisoner Akram al-Fseisi, who served two years without trial under the administrative detention policy and was released from Israeli custody two months ago after a 70-day hunger strike.

In Jerusalem, 20-year-old Amani Abed al-Mughrabi was detained at her al-Tur home while Latifa Abdul Latif was arrested while leaving the al-Aqsa mosque compound.

The arrests add to the estimated 6,500 Palestinians, including 300 minors, currently being held in Israeli prisons.

Meanwhile, a Palestinian human rights groups reported that a detained Palestinian child was seriously injured during interrogation on November 19 at an Israeli interrogation center in annexed Jerusalem.

The WAFA News Agency said 16-year-old Khader al-Ajlouni was pushed down a flight of stairs at the police station and suffered serious injuries to his neck, arms and back.

At least 600 Palestinian children have been arrested in annexed Jerusalem alone since last June.

According to a report published Friday by the Palestinian Prisoners Club (PPC), nearly 40 percent of these children have been subjected to sexual abuse during arrest or investigation by the Israeli authorities.

The PPC, an independent Palestinian organization set up in 1993, said the "daily arrest campaigns" inflicted on young Palestinians living in Jerusalem are a "collective punishment against Palestinian residents of Jerusalem."

PPC attorney Mufeed al-Haj said that other violations were reported during the apprehension of children, including but not limited to night and predawn raids on family homes, physical and sexual abuse.

Around 95 percent of detained children were subject to beatings and torture by Israeli security personnel while in detention, while many were forced to make confessions under duress and undergo unfair trials, said Issa Qaraqe, the head of the Palestine Liberation Organization's (PLO) committee on detainees.

A report by Defense for Children International (DCI) published in May 2014 revealed that Israel jails 20 percent of Palestinian children it detains in solitary confinement.

DCI said that minors held in solitary confinement spent an average of 10 days in isolation. The longest period of confinement documented in a single case was 29 days in 2012, and 28 days in 2013.

A report by The Euro-Mid Observer for Human Rights, Israeli forces arrested nearly 3,000 Palestinian children from the beginning of 2010 to mid-2014, the majority of them between the ages of 12 and 15 years old.

The report also documented dozens of video recorded testimonies of children arrested during the first months of 2014, pointing out that 75 percent of the detained children are subjected to physical torture and 25 percent faced military trials.

In 2013, the UN children's fund (UNICEF) reported that Israel was the only country in the world where children were "systematically tried" in military courts and gave evidence of practices it said were "cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment or punishment."

The Israeli cabinet approved early November a new legislation which will be added to the Israeli penal code and would allow the imposition of a prison sentence up to 20 years for those convicted of throwing stones or other objects at Israeli vehicles.

The roots of the Israel-Palestine conflict date back to 1917, when the British government, in the now-famous 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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