Israeli settlers shot and killed two Palestinian teenagers in separate incidents in the occupied West Bank as Israeli forces continued to shoot at Palestinian laborers in Gaza and arrest and beat civilians in other parts of the country, including children.
The Electronic Intifada brings you this special news brief on events related to Israeli violence against Palestinians.
An Israeli settler allegedly from the illegal Barkha settlement shot and killed 19-year-old Uday Qadous after they engaged in a verbal altercation, on 27 January in the northern West Bank village of Iraq Burin, near Nablus.
Palestinian human rights organization Al Haq investigated the shooting and stated that Uday and his cousin, Umar, were working in their fields when Uday went looking for some of their sheep that had gone missing (“Updates on the Killing of Udayy Qadoush by a Settler in Iraq Bourin,” 1 February 2011).
“Shortly after, Umar became worried about his cousin and went to look for him in the fields,” Al Haq stated. “He found Uday standing near an unpaved military road (connecting Barkha settlement and the local military base) and a settler was standing opposite him, about 10 meters away; the two were quarreling verbally.”
“As they moved away, Umar could no longer see them but heard a bullet shot and saw the settler running away from the scene of the incident. The settler had a light-complexion, blonde hair and wearing a Kippa, carrying a black backpack and a pistol on the side of his waist,” Al Haq reported.
The shooting was caught on Israeli military cameras, and was made public on YouTube (IDF Camera 28-Jan-2011: Israeli Settler Kill a Palestinian (Uday Qadous) in Iraq Burin). The brief video appears to show Uday fall to the ground suddenly as he is moving away from the settler.
Medical officials in the Rafadiya hospital in Nablus confirmed that Qadous was shot at point-blank range in the upper torso, with a bullet ripping through his lung, Ma’an news agency reported (“Autopsy on teen slain by settler completed,” 28 January 2011).
The next day in the southern West Bank village of Beit Ommar, a large group of Israeli settlers from the nearby illegal Bat Ayn settlement descended on the outskirts of the village and opened fire. Yousef Fakhri Ikhlayl, aged 17, was shot in the head while standing in his family’s vineyard.
Another 16-year-old boy from Beit Ommar was shot in the arm, but survived the attack.
Ikhlayl remained brain-dead in a hospital in Hebron before succumbing to his wounds early the next morning, according to Beit Ommar-based activism group Palestine Solidarity Project (PSP). PSP reported that at least 100 settlers took part in Friday’s attack, which began when armed members of the group began firing at Palestinian homes in the Saffa area adjacent to Beit Ommar. At the same time, PSP added, other settlers opened fire in the Jodor neighborhood, where Ikhlayl was standing (“Beit Ommar youth killed by Israeli settlers,” 28 January 2011).
Dozens of villagers from Beit Ommar and nearby Surif immediately came to the area “to defend their communities,” PSP stated, adding that seven Israeli military jeeps arrived and “escorted the settlers back to Bay Ayn [settlement].”
Ikhlayl was recently a participant in a youth photography class sponsored by the village-based Center for Freedom and Justice, and had been active with PSP in educational projects and community service-oriented initiatives.
Bekah Wolf, co-founder of PSP, worked closely with Ikhlayl and stated in the press release that “Yousef was a kid who hoped for a better future for Palestine.”
Wolf continued, “His life was ended prematurely by right-wing extremists. People around the world should be outraged by his shooting, and should work to bring his attackers to justice.”
Approximately 10,000 people filled the streets of Beit Ommar as residents carried Ikhlayl’s body and held Palestinian flags in his funeral on 29 January, PSP reported.
As the crowd marched closer to the Israeli sniper tower at the entrance to the village, on their way to the cemetery, Israeli soldiers attacked the funeral procession with sound grenades and tear gas canisters, while some residents threw stones at the fortified tower (“Funeral of Yousef Ikhlayl attacked by Israeli military, dozens injured,” 29 January 2011).
Soon afterwards, Israeli military jeeps arrived and soldiers “began shooting live [ammunition] and rubber bullets,” PSP added. “Most of the crowd dispersed at this point, carrying the injured people away. Several residents stayed and continued to confront the occupying army with stones.”
Dozens were wounded in the attacks.
PSP reported that Israeli soldiers also fired on a Palestinian ambulance attempting to give medical relief to an injured person.
Days before Ikhlayl’s killing, settlers from the same illegal settlement destroyed several hundred olive trees in Beit Ommar, PSP stated (“Settlers destroy more trees in Beit Ommar,” 28 January 2011).
Earlier in the week, on 27 January, the Israeli military arrested two young boys from Beit Ommar. PSP reported that 11-year-old Hamza Ahmed Abu Hashem and 12-year-old Bilal Mahmood Awad were arrested while they played soccer near their homes (“Israeli forces arrest two Palestinian boys ages 11 and 12 in Beit Ommar,” 27 January 2011).
“Bilal and Hamza were taken to the nearby Israeli settlement of Karmei Tsur and then transferred to the police station in Kiryat Arba settlement in Hebron,” PSP stated.
Hamza is the son of a community activist with the Beit Ommar-based National Committee Against the Wall and Settlements, a group that organizes weekly unarmed demonstrations against the Israeli occupation and the encroaching settlements.
At press time, PSP said that Hamza was released but Bilal was still being held in Israeli detention.
Bekah Wolf told The Electronic Intifada that on 3 February, another two Palestinian youths were arrested by Israeli soldiers, who detained them at Karmei Tsur settlement. Both of the boys are 17 years-old, according to Wolf.
Family members of one of the youths were badly beaten, she reported, when the soldiers entered their house. PSP members were also assaulted by Israeli soldiers when they attempted to find out information about the two boys. Another 26-year-old man was arrested also on 3 February by Israeli soldiers at the entrance to Beit Ommar, Wolf added.
Israeli soldiers also arrested several Palestinian children in the West Bank village of Nabi Saleh last week according to a report from The International Middle East Media Center (IMEMC). On Sunday, 23 January, Israeli forces arrested 14-year-old Islam al-Tamimi in a pre-dawn raid, IMEMC reported (“An-Nabi Saleh Popular Committee Leader Beaten, Two Children Arrested,” 26 January 2011).
The report added that this was the second time in three weeks that Islam was arrested, and was interrogated for eight hours during his detention last week.
Islam was “denied access to legal counsel for the first five hours, during which he confessed to throwing stones during the weekly protest against the annexation wall,” IMEMC reported, “and his parents were denied access to their son during the interrogation; their legal right.” Islam’s brother, 10-year-old Karim al-Tamini, was arrested on Tuesday, IMEMC reported, but was released after seven hours in custody.
On 26 January, the Israeli military arrested two 15-year-old boys along with Bassem Tamimi, leader of the Popular Committee Against the Wall and Settlements in Nabi Saleh, IMEMC stated.
Joseph Dana, independent journalist, contributor to The Electronic Intifada, and media coordinator for the Popular Struggle Coordination Committee, reported that Israeli forces applied torture techniques on Islam al-Tamimi during the interrogation (“Harsh interrogations of children escalate in Nabi Saleh,” 31 January 2011).
Israeli soldiers beat and arrested a 19-year-old Palestinian farmer in the Hadidiya region of the northern Jordan Valley as he grazed his livestock, the Jordan Valley Solidarity Project (JVSP) reported on 2 February (“A young man beaten and kidnapped by soldiers in Hadidiya”).
After being beaten by the soldiers, Ghazi Bsharat was taken to a nearby military detention center and released several hours later.
JVSP also reported that approximately 30 Israeli settlers from the illegal settlement of Maskiyot attacked Palestinians in Ein al Helwe, also in the northern Jordan Valley, on 29 January. A woman and her 11-year-old daughter were beaten and threatened with future violence in what residents say are attempts by settlers to force Palestinians to leave the area (“New settler aggression in Ein Il Hilwe,” 29 January 2011).
Silwan, Occupied East Jerusalem
The Wadi Hilweh Information Center (SILWANIC) reported that Israeli forces set a Palestinian home on fire on Friday, 28 January, after they fired rounds of tear gas canisters inside the house, located in the Baten al-Hawa area of Silwan (“Palestinian home set ablaze under volleys of tear gas,” 28 January 2011).
Following the destruction of the home, Israeli security services, including police, opened fire on Palestinian residents who protested the presence of the armed forces. SILWANIC reported that a 12-year-old boy was injured when a rubber bullet hit him in his face.
Later on, as protests intensified in the Baten al-Hawa area, SILWANIC reported that Israeli settlers “joined the violence” perpetrated by the Israeli armed forces, while Palestinian youth threw molotov cocktails at soldiers who had occupied the roof of a nearby home. Fire bombs were also hurled at the illegal Beit Yonatan settlement inside the neighborhood (“Youth aim Molotovs at soldiers on occupied roof,” 28 January 2011).
Israeli snipers stationed along the Gaza boundary opened fire on a 21-year-old Palestinian man on 31 January, The Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR) reported (“Weekly Report On Israeli Human Rights Violations in the Occupied Palestinian Territory,” 27 January - 2 February 2011).
Israeli soldiers inside sniper towers near Beit Lahiya town “fired at a number of Palestinian workers who were collecting scraps of construction materials from a site where the evacuated Israeli settlement of ‘Elli Sinai’ used to stand,” PCHR reported.
“Mohammed Zakaria Halawa, 21, from Jabalya, was wounded by a bullet to the left leg, when he was nearly 150 meters away from the border,” PCHR added. Rising poverty and the 4-year-long Israeli blockade in the occupied Gaza Strip has forced many Palestinian laborers to collect raw industrial material and rubble from areas near the “buffer zone,” a 300-meter-long militarized area along the northern, eastern and maritime boundaries.
As The Electronic Intifada has reported, more than 100 Palestinians have been shot since March 2010 while collecting material to use for industrial construction. Israel’s blockade has severely restricted the import of construction materials into Gaza.
On 2 February, Israeli warplanes bombed tunnels along the Gaza-Egypt border, reported Agence-France Presse (AFP). The Israeli military claimed its aerial attacks were in response to Palestinian-fired homemade rockets on Monday night, which landed across the boundary and caused no injuries. No one was injured in the Israeli airstrike (“Israeli planes hit Gaza tunnels, no casualties,” 2 February 2011).
Finally, in the village of Dhammash, near Tel Aviv, Israeli police arrested and severely beat members of the Shaaban family on 22 January, accusing them of “harboring illegal workers,” according to a report by independent journalist Max Blumenthal (“‘The days of ‘48 have come again.’ 15 minutes from Tel Aviv, Israel creates a new refugee camp,” 26 January 2011).
Police in the town of Lydd, “violently arrested Ali, Farida, and five members of [the Shaaban] family,” Blumenthal reported, adding that their detention was unknown until the following Monday, two days later. A judge then extended their imprisonment until the following Thursday “on the grounds of secret evidence the Shaaban family’s lawyer was not allowed to view — a tactic familiar to Israel’s military courts in the West Bank.”
A mobile phone video posted on YouTube showed Israeli police beating members of the Shaaban family.
For more than a year, the Palestinian residents of Dhammash have been living under regular police harassment and constant threat of losing their homes in their village, which has been “unrecognized” by the State of Israel since 1948. Residents of Dhammash are Israeli citizens and pay taxes, but do not receive any services as the state refuses to acknowledge their presence.
The Electronic Intifada has reported on the situation for Palestinians inside Dhammash and the adjacent segregated city of Lydd, where recent demolitions of Palestinian homes have left entire families homeless.