A narrative that plays out all too often in occupied Palestine was repeated again in the West Bank on Friday.
A Palestinian motorist was killed by Israeli soldiers who claimed that he had accelerated his car when approaching them.
The military claimed that the “assailant” was attempting a car-ramming attack before he was “neutralized” by troops, none of whom were injured.
Palestinian outlets named the slain man as Fadi Samara Qaad:
The Tel Aviv daily Haaretz reported that Qaad’s family said that the 37-year-old was on his way to pick up his wife and was not attempting any attack when he was killed.
Dozens of Palestinians have been killed in similar circumstances in which Israel said there were attempted attacks, but no Israelis were injured.
Qaad is the third Palestinian killed by Israeli soldiers in the West Bank so far this month. More than 20 Palestinians have died by Israeli fire in the West Bank, Gaza Strip and Israel so far this year, or succumbed to wounds sustained in previous years.
An investigation by the human rights group B’Tselem contradicted Israel’s claims of a car-ramming attack after soldiers opened fire on a car carrying a group of Palestinian boys in February.
“It demonstrates, yet again, how easy it is for soldiers to shoot Palestinians (in this case, 15-year-olds), and then justify their action with false claims,” B’Tselem stated.
Human rights groups like B’Tselem have long contended that Israel has a shoot-to-kill policy when it comes to Palestinians, including children. Investigations by those groups frequently reveal Israel’s claims to be flat-out lies.
Escalation looms as annexation nears
Escalated violence is likely in the coming weeks, with the military preparing for increased confrontations with Palestinians as Israel moves to unilaterally annex the West Bank’s Jordan Valley.
The chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, which is poised to open a formal investigation of alleged war crimes in the West Bank and Gaza, has warned that such unilateral annexation “has no legal validity.”
Israel’s construction of colonies and transfer of its civilian population into the West Bank, in blatant contravention of international law, is likely to be a primary focus of any future ICC investigation.
Benjamin Netanyahu, the Israeli prime minister, said this week that Palestinians in the Jordan Valley would “remain Palestinian subjects” in enclaves under Israeli “security control.”
The Jordan Valley, currently under full Israeli military control, is the main agricultural region in the West Bank, and agriculture is the primary economic sector in the territory.
The World Bank conservatively estimated the value of agricultural production in Israeli settlements in the Jordan Valley to be $251 million in 2013.
That same year, the World Bank estimated that agricultural cultivation of West Bank land currently under full Israeli military control would deliver an additional $700 million per year to the Palestinian economy.
Meanwhile, the routine violence of Israel’s military occupation goes on amid the coronavirus pandemic.
A Palestinian man with Down syndrome was shot in the foot by Israeli soldiers during a raid on Nabi Saleh village in the West Bank on Friday:
And in Jerusalem, Israel forced the family of an elderly Palestinian woman who uses a wheelchair to demolish the home they built for her seven years earlier to accommodate her mobility needs.
According to Quds News Network, the grandson of Rasmea Kassab had to destroy his grandmother’s home as she watched.