Israel unleashes “unprecedented bloodshed” in West Bank

Palestinians inspect blood on the staircase of a building after Israeli forces surround a wedding hall during an Israeli military raid in the Balata refugee camp, near the West Bank city of Nablus on 3 June.

Mohammed Nasser APA images

There has been no reprieve from Israel’s lethal military raids in the occupied West Bank.

Palestinians in the area are “being subjected to day after day of unprecedented bloodshed,” Volker Türk, the UN high commissioner for human rights, said this week.

“It is unfathomable that so many lives have been taken in such a wanton fashion.”

More than 500 Palestinians have been killed in the occupied West Bank since 7 October, including at least 490 by Israeli troops, according to UN monitoring group OCHA.

Israeli settlers have killed at least 10 Palestinians, and another seven were killed by either Israeli army or settler fire. More than 5,100 Palestinians have been injured, including at least 800 children.

Israeli forces carried out 29 militarized operations during this period, the UN high commissioner said. This involved “airstrikes by unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) or planes and the firing of ground-to-ground missiles on refugee camps and other densely populated areas.”

These military operations killed 164 Palestinians, including 35 children. This comprises one-third of Israeli killings of Palestinians in the West Bank over the last eight months.

Since the beginning of the year, Israeli forces have killed nearly 200 Palestinians in the occupied West Bank. This is nearly double and four times the numbers recorded in the same periods last year and in 2022, respectively, Türk warned.

Israeli forces “have often used lethal force as a first resort” in response to Palestinians throwing stones, makeshift incendiary bottles or firecrackers at Israeli armored vehicles.

“The prevalence of Palestinians who died after being shot in the upper part of the body, along with a pattern of the denial of medical assistance to those injured, suggests intent to kill in violation of the right to life,” Türk added.

The UN human rights commissioner called on Israel to “immediately” cease its killings, destruction and human rights violations.


Undercover Israeli agents killed a young Palestinian man in Balata refugee camp in the northern occupied West Bank in Nablus city on 3 June in an apparent execution.

Adam Salah Farraj, 23, was killed in broad daylight by a coalition of agents from the Israeli Police, the Shomron Brigade and the Nahshon Battalion, an infantry group with the Israeli army that patrols Nablus.

The Israeli agents were acting on “precise intelligence” from the Shin Bet, a police source told i24 News, to kill the “wanted individual” – who appears to be Farraj, although Israeli police did not name him.

“The undercovers successfully neutralized the target despite facing significant resistance,” the police source added, stressing the importance of “actively pursuing and neutralizing threats.”

The Israeli force had surrounded an event hall where Farraj was located, and where his sister’s wedding was being held.

Farraj detected the presence of the Israeli force and tried to flee the area through the rooftop of a building, according to i24 News, but was shot by the agents.

Graphic footage shows about a half dozen Israeli soldiers surrounding Farraj’s bleeding body on what appears to be the rooftop of a building. An Israeli officer approaches and grabs a pistol lying near Farraj’s incapacitated body, while other agents drag Farraj’s body by the feet and into an indoor structure.

The political and armed Palestinian organization Hamas mourned Farraj, who appears to have been a member.

Israeli forces have previously raided Farraj’s family home to arrest him, damaging the family’s belongings. His mother recounted the “monstrosity” of Israeli forces to local media with tears in her eyes at the time.

A second Palestinian, Mutaz al-Nabulsi, was also killed by Israeli forces in Nablus city on the same day. His picture was circulated by Arabic-language media following his killing:

Meanwhile, the US State Department announced sanctions on the Lions Den group, a Palestinian armed resistance group with a cross-party alliance that emerged in Nablus in recent years.

“The United States condemns any and all acts of violence committed in the West Bank, whoever the perpetrators,” US State Department spokesperson Matthew Miller said.

It is unclear what such sanctions can effectively do to punish small militias in the West Bank, since it is safe to assume they have no material dealings that would be affected by a US ban.

The move appears to be an effort to appease Israel after the US State Department announced sanctions against a handful of Israeli settlers in recent months. This in and of itself was an apparent attempt to divert attention from their complicity in Israel’s genocide of Palestinians in Gaza.

The move, despite it being an empty gesture, irked right-wing Israeli leaders.

These sanctions falsely convey the impression that settler violence is caused by a few bad apples, and sidestep that Israel’s illegal state-directed policy of settler-colonization is inherently violent.

The settlers are not acting as individuals but on behalf of the state whose goal is the theft and total control of all the land in the West Bank.

The settlers are the foot soldiers of the state and its expansionist policy – and if any country that participated in sanctions against some of them are interested in punishing the colonization that they promote, sanctions would be targeted at Israel and its leaders, not a few individuals.

Genocidal slogans in Jerusalem

Meanwhile this week, thousands of Israeli Jewish nationals held their annual “March of the Flags” on what they call Jerusalem Day, an Israeli-invented holiday celebrating its occupation and colonization of the city in 1967.

This event has come to be known as a major provocation and festival of hate, where marchers repeatedly chant genocidal slogans, including “death to the Arabs” and “may your village burn” – both of which were repeated this year:

The logo of the extremist Kach organization was prevalent at this year’s march, according to Tel Aviv newspaper Haaretz journalist Nir Hasson, who closely monitors and attends these marches to report on them:
The logo, a star with a fist emerging in the middle, can be seen on a flag waved by two men above. Kach is a political party in Israel founded by late Israeli arch-racist Rabbi Meir Kahane. Kach is designated as a terrorist group by the US.

This video shows a mob storming a Palestinian tailor shop, as Israeli police make limited effort to contain them:

Previous years have seen Jewish attendees of the march call on Palestine to be “wiped out,” as well as promising a second Nakba.

This year was no different, accompanied by full incitement and support by extreme right-wing members of Israel’s government.

The Jewish extremists marched through the Muslim Quarter of the Old City, an intentional provocation against Palestinian natives of the city.

One photo was widely shared on social media depicting a mob of Israeli Jewish nationals surrounding, harassing and assaulting a Palestinian journalist wearing a press vest.

Another widely shared photo depicts Hasson attempting to shield his peer from the violent mob.

“Wednesday’s march was one of the most violent and ugliest I have seen – and I have witnessed every single one over the past 16 years,” Hasson wrote in Haaretz.

“They pushed, cursed, spat, threatened and attacked Palestinian passersby and journalists.”

Killing children

Meanwhile, Israeli forces and settlers have killed 49 Palestinian children since the beginning of the year, including two US citizens.

On 1 June, two Palestinian teens were heading towards a parking area for cars confiscated from Palestinians in the Aqbat Jabr camp, located southwest of Jericho in the Jordan Valley in the occupied West Bank. Aqbat Jabr is the largest camp in the West Bank by surface area.

The boys noticed that there were Israeli forces 50 to 80 meters away, according to field documentation by Defense for Children International - Palestine. Israeli forces opened fire at them, killing 16-year-old Ahmad Ashraf Hmaidat with a bullet in his back, and Muhammad Musa al-Bitar, 17, who was shot in the head from behind.

Israel took both bodies to an unknown location, only handing over Ahmad hours later, and al-Bitar the next day.

“Systemic impunity creates an ultra-permissive context where Israeli forces know no bounds and routinely shoot to kill Palestinian children in circumstances where there is no imminent threat to life,” said Ayed Abu Eqtaish, accountability program director at DCIP.

“These are war crimes with no consequence.”

Israeli forces shot and killed a 17-year-old Palestinian boy they accused of attempting to stab an Israeli soldier near Sair town, northeast of Hebron in the southern occupied West Bank, on 26 May.

Israeli forces shot Majd Shaher al-Aramin in the head and left him on the ground to bleed out for half an hour before taking his body and withholding it.

Israeli intelligence officers summoned Majd’s father and showed him a picture of his son lying on the ground as a way for his father to identify him, but are still holding on to the child’s remains.

“Palestinian children cannot rest even in death as Israeli authorities continue confiscating children’s bodies and withholding them from their families indefinitely,” Abu Eqtaish said.

Meanwhile, on Thursday afternoon, Israeli forces infiltrated the Jenin refugee camp in the northern occupied West Bank in civilian vehicles and killed three Palestinians there, including a child, and injured others.

Israeli armored vehicles and bulldozers also invaded the camp, with Israel using US-made Apache helicopters flying overhead and firing heavily in the direction of Jenin and its camp. Israeli forces fired an anti-tank rifle grenade at one of the homes.

Armed Palestinians in the camp confronted the Israeli invaders.

Israeli soldiers in a heavily armored vehicle chased a Palestinian teen and his friend as they rode a motorcycle home in Jenin. The soldiers “pursued” and fatally shot Issa Nafez Jallad, 16, and Ibrahim al-Saadi, from a short distance of no more than five meters,” DCIP reported.

“Israeli forces approached and confirmed that their wounds were fatal before leaving the scene,” DCIP reported.

“The United States must stop sending weapons to the Israeli military that are used to kill Palestinian children without restraint, whether in Gaza or Jenin,” stated Abu Eqtaish.


Add new comment

Tamara Nassar

Tamara Nassar is an assistant editor at The Electronic Intifada.