Palestinian Intifada intensifies


FOUR Palestinians were shot and injured on Sunday, while many others, including students, suffocated during renewed clashes with Israeli army forces in the Hebron area.

Four Palestinians were shot and injured with rubber-coated steel bullets, and another was struck with a stun grenade shrapnel, whereas many others suffocated due to inhaling tear gas fired at them by Israeli forces during clashes that erupted at the eastern entrance of the town of Beit Kahel to the northwest of Hebron.

Israeli forces further blocked the eastern entrance and prevented Palestinian registered cars from crossing. Meanwhile, dozens of Polytechnic University students – who rallied to protest against Israel’s escalated aggression against the Palestinian people and al-Aqsa mosque compound in Jerusalem – suffocated during confrontations that broke out with Israeli army to the south of the city of Hebron.

Earlier on Sunday, at least two Palestinians were shot and injured with live ammunition and rubber-coated bullets used by the Israeli army, as they stormed Hebron city in the early morning hours. Dozens of university students suffocated as Israeli forces on Sunday raided the campus of Palestine Technical University, Kadoorie to the west of Tulkarem city, while firing a hail of tear gas canisters toward students, according to the university’s public relations department.

A large military force infiltrated the university’s campus – making it the second such attack in a matter of two weeks – amid heavy firing of tear gas canisters toward students, causing dozens of suffocation cases among them due to tear gas inhalation. Some of the severe suffocation cases were transferred to hospital for medical treatment.

The department noted that tension is running high at the college due to Israeli forces’ continuous attempts to take over part of the campus’ land for the benefit of expanding a nearby Israeli military training camp. In the meantime, dozens of Palestinian locals suffocated by tear gas fired at them by Israeli army soldiers during clashes that erupted near Israel’s Jeicora’s factories to the west of Tulkarem.

Forces reportedly used heavy tear gas canisters against locals, in addition to a number of university students who participated in a rally condemning Israel’s growing dominance over al-Aqsa mosque compound in Jerusalem and its attempts to temporally divide it between Muslims and Jews. Dozens of suffocation cases were reported. They were all treated at the scene.

Israeli settlers renewed their attacks on the eastern Hebron area on Sunday evening, hours after they carried out a similar attack, according to local sources. Dozens of settlers from the settlement of Kiryat Arba, illegally built on land of Hebron, attacked Palestinian homes with stones. A military escort was guarding the settlers during their assault.

Late Saturday night, settlers from Kiryat Arba removed the barbered wire that separates the settlement from adjacent Palestinian homes before attacking the homes with stones. The settlers also shouted racist slogans and profanities against Palestinian families in the neighbourhood.

A Palestinian family expressed fears on Sunday that its little girl may have been kidnapped by settlers following her disappearance in Khirbat Rabud, southwest of Samu’a town in al-Khalil province. The family of 13-year-old Tahani Rasmi appealed to local media outlets, human rights groups and the Palestinian security authorities to help find its missing child, who went missing on Saturday afternoon near the house.

It said that she might have been abducted by settlers from Otniel settlement, which is located near the village. Settlers recently stepped up their attacks against Palestinians in the West Bank, including Jerusalem, amid growing tension and renewing clashes between Palestinians and the Israeli army and police.

Clashes have been witnessed across the West Bank, including Jerusalem and Gaza, as well as in Arab communities inside the occupied 1948 land, against the backdrop of Israel’s repeated assaults against al-Aqsa mosque compound in Jerusalem. Israel has been enforcing a temporal division on the compound, the third holiest place in Islam, which ignited strong feelings of anger among Palestinians.

Israeli occupation forces (IOF) raided areas in central Gaza Strip, east of Breij refugee camp, on Sunday morning. IOF soldiers in armoured vehicles advanced 200 metres west of the security fence. The soldiers used two huge bulldozers to level land in the area under heavy presence of drones. The area has witnessed violent confrontations over the past two weeks between angry young Palestinians protesting against Israeli measures in occupied Jerusalem and the Aqsa Mosque and supporting the Jerusalem Intifada.

At least 15 Palestinians were kidnapped by the Israeli occupation forces (IOF) at dawn on Sunday in an arbitrary mass-abduction campaign launched across cities of the West Bank. The 15 Palestinians, arrested on allegations of involvement in anti-occupation activities, were all dragged to an Israeli detention centre pending further investigation.

Five of those arrested were civilian youths from the West Bank province of Bethlehem. 15-year-old Udai al-Amour and Muhannad al-Amour were among the five Bethlehem captives. Meanwhile, a force of 200 Israeli troops and police stormed a Palestinian cultivated land in southern Bethlehem and seized it shortly afterwards.

Clashes burst out in Salfit after Israeli special forces and eight army jeeps stormed the city and raked through residential neighbourhoods, targeting Palestinian civilian homes with tear gas canisters all the way through. A number of Palestinians choked on tear gas and received field treatment.

Five more Palestinian youngsters, including ex-prisoner Ali Udwan, were arrested in Qalqilya, in the northern West Bank. Israeli soldiers further nabbed two Palestinian civilians from al-Khalil’s western town of Awa. Both arrestees were dragged to an unknown location shortly afterwards. Violent clashes reportedly flared up across al-Khalil city, where IOF troops attacked Palestinian civilians, family homes, and schoolchildren with randomly-shot spates of tear gas canisters and rubber bullets. A number of schoolchildren choked on tear gas in the process.

The assault culminated in a flying checkpoint abruptly pitched by the Israeli troops on the access road between northern al-Khalil and Bethlehem. Over recent days, a number of Palestinian children and youths were kidnapped by the IOF in ongoing clashes across the West Bank. Meanwhile, two Palestinians who were recently shot dead by Israeli security forces did not pose any threat to the Israeli forces, and were only ‘shot to be killed’, according to a report by B’Tselem, an Israeli human rights information centre.

It said that video footage of two incidents – out of 13 cases where Palestinians were shot dead for allegedly stabbing or attempting to stab Israelis or when suspected to do so – published by the media raises grave concern that the security forces ‘shot to kill, even when it was clear that the Palestinians no longer posed a threat and could be apprehended in other ways’.

On October 14, Israeli police and Border Police officers shot and killed Basel Sidr, 20, close to Damascus Gate, an entrance to the Old City of Jerusalem. According to the police report, Sidr drew a knife and ran towards Border Police officers, who responded immediately by shooting at him. Sidr changed direction and ran towards other police officers, who fired at him after the Border Police officers called out to them.

In two segments of video footage published by the media, Sidr is seen shot while running with a knife in hand. However, B’Tselem said, the shooting continued even after he fell down, apparently wounded and immobilised, with no one near him. In another incident which occurred on October 4 and was reported by B’Tselem, an Israeli police officer shot and killed Fadi ’Alun, 19. According to the police report, ‘Alun stabbed an Israeli youth, causing him a moderate injury, before he was shot.

Video footage of the shooting and some of what preceded it, filmed from two different angles, was shared online’.

The footage indicates that ’Alun was holding a knife when he was shot, but no one was near him. A police officer is seen firing seven bullets at ’Alun, although the latter fell to the ground after the first shot.’ In the two cases described above, B’Tselem noted that, ‘there is cause for grave concern that the security forces shot the suspects not to stop them in their tracks, but to kill them. Given politicians’ support of such conduct and the public mood of condoning the killing of Palestinian suspects, such incidents are bound to recur.’

‘Security forces have the authority to use the minimal amount of force necessary to achieve that end, according to the circumstances, but law enforcement officers cannot act as both judges and executioners.’