Early on Tuesday, the Israeli military said it carried out raids across the occupied West Bank overnight. During an operation in the Faraa refugee camp near the northeastern city of Tubas, the army said it opened fire on a Palestinian who approached troops with an explosive device. The camp is home to a recently formed militant cell affiliated with Palestinian Islamic Jihad, an Islamist group.
The Palestinian Health Ministry said that 17-year-old Mahmoud al-Aydi died from a bullet wound to the head. No militant group immediately claimed him as a member.
Also on Tuesday, a 25-year-old Palestinian succumbed to wounds he suffered two years ago when the Israeli army shot him in Masafer Yatta, in the southern West Bank, leaving him paralyzed from the neck down.
Palestinian health officials identified him as Haroun Abu Aram. Footage from the incident in 2021 showed him struggling to prevent Israeli security forces from confiscating his portable generator before a shot rang out, and he collapsed.
Tensions have mounted for months as Israel has escalated arrest raids in the West Bank, which were prompted by a spate of Palestinian attacks on Israelis last spring. Some 30 people were killed in Israel by Palestinians in 2022, and at least 12 others died in attacks so far in 2023.
An Israeli Border Police officer died Monday after he was stabbed by a Palestinian teen in east Jerusalem. A security guard opened fire at the assailant, but police say he also wound up shooting and critically wounding 1st Sgt. Asil Su’ad. A Bedouin Arab serving in Israel’s paramilitary police force, Su’ad was to be laid to rest in northern Israel on Tuesday.
In Hebron, prominent Palestinian activist Issa Amro was giving an interview to Lawrence Wright of The New Yorker magazine on Monday when an Israeli soldier grabbed Amro by the neck as if to choke him before throwing him onto a brick sidewalk, footage posted by Wright on Twitter showed. The soldier kicked Amro as he lay on the ground and began to drag him on the concrete before another soldier intervened, pulling him away from Amro.
Late on Monday, the Israeli army said the soldier would serve 10 days in military prison and be suspended from active combat duty, adding, “As the video shows, the soldier did not act as expected and did not follow the (military’s) code of conduct.”
Palestinian and human rights groups accuse the Israeli military of frequently using excessive force and say soldiers are rarely punished for violent acts. Even in the most shocking cases — and those captured on video — soldiers often get relatively light sentences.
Yet Israel’s ultranationalist National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir lambasted the punishment as a “disgrace.” He has long called for a relaxation of open-fire regulations and immunity from criminal prosecution for members of the security forces acting in combat situations in the West Bank.
“Soldiers deserve to be backed up, not jailed,” Ben-Gvir wrote on Twitter.
Nearly 150 Palestinians were killed last year in the West Bank and east Jerusalem, making it the deadliest year in those areas since 2004, according to figures by the Israeli rights group B’Tselem. At least 48 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli troops since the start of this year.
Israel says that most of those killed have been militants but others — including youths protesting the incursions and other people not involved in confrontations — have also been killed.
Israel says the military raids are meant to dismantle militant networks and thwart future attacks while the Palestinians view them as further entrenchment of Israel’s open-ended, 55-year occupation.
Israel captured the West Bank, east Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip in the 1967 Mideast war, territories the Palestinians claim for their hoped-for independent state.
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