Israel ramps up attacks in West Bank

A mural depicting seven armed men is on the stone wall of a building

A mural honoring Palestinian martyrs is seen in the occupied West Bank city of Nablus on 10 January.

Wahaj Bani Moufleh ActiveStills

Israeli occupation forces shot at a Palestinian child Monday evening and made sure he was dead before they allowed paramedics to reach him. Israeli troops carried out the deadly raid in the town of Arraba, near the northern occupied West Bank city of Jenin.

Two Israeli military vehicles arrived at the entrance of the town carrying some 15 soldiers. They exited the vehicles and started “patrolling the town and firing live ammunition” at Palestinians, according to a field investigation by Defense for Children International - Palestine.

Yamen Muhammad Lahlouh, 16, was “allegedly throwing stones” when an Israeli sniper shot him from a distance of about 20 meters. When a young Palestinian man moved to help the injured child, Israeli troops fired towards him. They then approached Yamen, “checked his vital signs and fired warning shots at a Palestinian ambulance crew trying to reach him.”

The teen bled to death as Israeli soldiers watched.

“Israeli forces stayed with Yamen for about 10 minutes while he bled out on the ground and did not leave until they confirmed he was dead,” DCIP said.

After that, an ambulance brought Yamen to hospital where he was pronounced dead. He is the 13th Palestinian child to be killed by Israeli fire since the beginning of the year in the occupied West Bank.

The impunity enjoyed by Israeli soldiers determined to kill Palestinian children is bought and paid for by the Biden administration which refuses to hold Israeli forces to account for carrying out genocide in Gaza,” said Ayed Abu Eqtaish, accountability program director at DCIP.

Meanwhile, the US called for an investigation into the killing of an Palestinian American child in the occupied West Bank by Israeli fire on 19 January.

Tawfiq Hafez Ajaq, 17, was in his car in the occupied West Bank town of al-Mazraa al-Sharqiya setting out to have a picnic with his cousin when an Israeli settler arrived in his car and opened fire at him from a distance of 100 meters.

The settler followed the teen and kept shooting at his car as he drove away.

Shortly after, an Israeli military vehicle reportedly arrived and opened fire at Tawfiq’s car from a distance of 50 to 70 meters, according to a field investigation by Defense for Children International - Palestine.

“Tawfiq’s car then veered off and overturned,” DCIP said.

“Israeli forces surrounded Tawfiq’s car and prevented people from reaching him for about 15 minutes.”

The teen was eventually transferred to a medical center, where he was pronounced dead on arrival. He had been shot in the head, but it is unclear if it was gunfire from the Israeli army or the settler that killed him.

During a regular US State Department press briefing, spokesperson Vedant Patel called for “an urgent investigation to determine the circumstance of his death and accountability be met as appropriate.”

He added that the US is working “closely” with the Israeli government to get more information.

The Israeli army, which said it was investigating if one of its soldiers was involved in the shooting, has killed more than 90 Palestinian children in the occupied West Bank since 7 October.

As a whole, Israel’s self-investigation apparatus goes through the motions of justice but the true purpose is to shield soldiers and their commanders from accountability.

The human rights group B’Tselem stopped cooperating with the Israeli military’s self-investigation mechanisms in 2016, saying that the system “serves as a fig leaf for the occupation.”

Rarely are soldiers ever prosecuted for harming Palestinians. The handful who are convicted receive extremely lenient sentences.

Settlers are treated very similarly.

“Israel’s failure to protect Palestinians and prosecute extremist settlers has led to an environment of near complete impunity in which settler violence has reached unprecedented levels,” a group of countries calling on Israel to take more steps to curb settler violence in the West Bank said.

The Israeli police claimed that an Israeli settler and off-duty policeman had fired at “individuals purportedly engaged in rock-throwing activities.”

But Tawfiq’s relative, 16-year-old Muhammad Ejak who was with him in the car, refutes that completely.

“We did not throw any rocks at anyone’s car, and we didn’t even get out of our own car before the shots were fired at us,” he told The New York Times during Tawfiq’s funeral.

Tawfiq was raised in a suburb of New Orleans and his family only recently moved to the occupied West Bank.

Drone missile kills children

Last week, a drone-fired missile struck four Palestinians, including three children, during a raid into the Tulkarm refugee camp, killing all of them.

Israeli forces then prevented ambulances from reaching them for about an hour and a half.

The three 17-year-old boys were named as Ahmad Tareq Faraj, Walid Ibrahim Ghanem and Ahmad Mousa Beddo by DCIP’s investigation.

The raid in Tulkarm lasted 45 hours, during which Israeli troops killed eight Palestinians and injured at least 26.

The Israeli army claimed to have found and confiscated weaponry.

Israeli troops destroyed dozens of vehicles and vandalized Palestinian homes and shops in the camp. In a pattern of recent West Bank raids, bulldozers destroyed the camp’s streets and alleys.

Israeli officials say bulldozers destroy roads and infrastructure to uproot makeshift bombs planted underground to attack the invaders when they enter the camp.

“At least 21 homes were rendered uninhabitable due to explosions and bulldozing, displacing 137 people, including 46 children,” in Nur Shams and Tulkarm refugee camps, UN monitoring group OCHA said.

Israeli forces reportedly detained hundreds of Palestinians, transferred them from one place to another and interrogated them after holding them for hours. Detainees were tied by the hands, assaulted and beaten by Israeli forces.

Israeli raids have intensified in Tulkarm and its two refugee camps, Nur Shams and Tulkarm, since 7 October. Massive damage has been caused to their infrastructure by Israeli bulldozers.

“The Nur Shams camp is just like Gaza,” a local healthcare worker told The Electronic Intifada earlier this month.

“Hundreds of meters of the main highway outside the camp had been destroyed,” The Guardian reported on the same refugee camp.

“So too had the road into the camp. Where a social and sports club once stood, there was rubble. A wedding hall had been half reduced to ruins. Walls were pocked with shrapnel and bullet scars. Water pipes were shattered and electricity lines trailed.”

Israel had already been setting the West Bank on fire before 7 October.

A number of small armed resistance groups emerged in response to Israel’s increasing attacks on occupied West Bank towns, villages and refugee camps and Israeli settlement expansion in the years leading up to Hamas’ military operation.

The Jenin Brigade formed in the Jenin refugee camp. It’s a group associated with Quds Brigades, the military wing of the Islamic Jihad resistance group, while the Lions Den, a group of Palestinians from different political factions within its ranks, appeared in Nablus.

All those camps had graduated multiple generations of fierce armed resistance fighters throughout the first and second intifadas.

Intensified attacks in the West Bank

The West Bank has been described as a “third front” of Israeli attacks, after its genocide in Gaza and fighting in the north with Lebanese resistance organization Hizballah.

Since 7 October, Israel has routinely conducted prolonged military raids in towns, cities and refugee camps across the West Bank to try to stifle the armed resistance. They have also caused extensive damage to refugee camps – streets, homes, commercial areas as well as water, electricity and road infrastructure has been devastated due to successive Israeli raids in those areas.

Raids last long hours, sometimes days, during which Israeli forces storm homes of Palestinians and arrest them. Israeli forces often kill Palestinians, including children, during raids.

The Israeli army has also been conducting aerial attacks in the West Bank on a near-regular basis. This was a practice it revived last year but had previously not been used since the second intifada two decades ago.

Israeli troops have killed at least 350 Palestinians in the occupied West Bank since 7 October, and at least eight were killed by settlers, the UN monitoring group OCHA has reported.

Of those killed, 94 were children.

Israeli forces and settlers have injured more than 4,340 Palestinians in the West Bank since 7 October, over 650 of them children.

Israel’s intensified attacks have not managed to stymie armed resistance in the West Bank.




"Tel Aviv launched its war in Gaza following a Hamas attack on southern Israel that killed nearly 1,200 people, including about 700 civilians."

This is the official narrative that "justifies" Israeli aggression on Palestinians. It is a lie! Even Israelis are now becoming aware that Israel's own forces slaughtered Israeli citizens along with their captors on October 7, inflating the number of dead Israelis so that the carnage and destruction in Gaza afterwards would be "justified". Twenty-two years after the 911 Lie, Israel offers another false flag to fuel more wars!


Biden, Trump, Justin Trudeau, Stiles, on and on: complicity is endless. Police, soldier, settler: they are one. No doubt South Africa knows all about that. Saying "extremist settlers" sounds like "Good Al-Qaeda vs. Bad Al-Qaeda".

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Tamara Nassar

Tamara Nassar is an assistant editor at The Electronic Intifada.