Israeli forces kill three in West Bank and destroy houses
As attacks by Israeli forces continue in the Gaza Strip, the occupied West Bank is also being targeted with incursions resulting in killings, arrests, demolitions of homes and other attacks on properties, Palestinian officials said.
Two Palestinian youths — Ahmed Assaf, 18, and Rani Katnat, 25 — were killed by the Israeli army and others were wounded during a military incursion into the town of Qabatiya, south of Jenin, on Wednesday.
Soldiers reportedly stormed the town after midnight, attacked several houses and destroyed their contents. The Palestinian Ministry of Health said a 17-year-old boy was in a critical condition after being shot in the abdomen.
The ministry also reported that three people were injured during attacks by army forces and settlers on the village of Deir Dibwan, east of Ramallah. Two of them were hit by live bullets, in the abdomen and thigh respectively, and the third suffered a fractured knee.
The Israeli army also reportedly arrested 28 Palestinians from various parts of the West Bank, including six children.
The head of the Palestinian National Council, Rawhi Fattouh, condemned the killings. He said the actions of the Israeli government, including ministers who have called for the killing of Palestinians and expulsion from their land, reflect the “criminal identity of this government that kills women and children.”
The silence of the international community about the crimes of the occupation serves to legitimize the bloody approach, he added, and so “it bears responsibility for the repercussions of these crimes.”
President Mahmoud Abbas’ Fatah movement said: “The Israeli aggression against our people in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank reveals the fragility of its political system, which seeks to spill the blood of our people to solve its internal crises.”
The Palestinian Foreign Ministry condemned the “barbaric Israeli aggression against our Palestinian people in the Gaza Strip” and described it as “an attempt by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to regain his lost popularity.”
It added: “Netanyahu is taking advantage of the cover and protection provided by some Western countries to continue violating international law, attacking innocent citizens and assassinating women and children.”
Meanwhile, Israeli bulldozers demolished two apartments belonging to the Shuqairat family in the village of Jabal Mukaber, east of Jerusalem, which officials said had been built without permits.
Palestinian sources said Israeli municipality crews and vehicles entered the village, accompanied by police and special forces, surrounded the apartments, blocked access to them, removed the occupants, and began the demolition process, despite a prior court decision to “freeze the demolition until mid-
Two brothers from the Shuqairat family said they were informed by their lawyer last week that Jerusalem municipality had submitted a legal request to have the hold order lifted, and the court had granted it. The municipality told the brothers to demolish the properties themselves but they refused. Nine people lived in the two apartments, including five children.
Also on Wednesday, the Israeli army demolished three houses in Al-Dyouk Al-Tahta village, west of Jericho. Issam Samrat, a Fatah official in the village, said the demolitions were a reflection of the Israeli policy of occupation and the forced displacement of Palestinians with the aim of ridding areas of their original inhabitants to clear the way for settlement expansion.
Elsewhere, Israeli forces uprooted more than 600 olive trees and damaged 20 water tanks northwest of Hebron.
Wassel Abu Youssef, an official with the Palestine Liberation Organization, told Arab News that Israel is “waging an all-out war against the Palestinian people in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, which requires an Arab, Islamic boycott of Israel and a proper trial of criminal occupation forces. We must take firm positions against the aggression of Israel.”