Israeli troops kill Palestinian during raid in West Bank
Israeli forces killed a Palestinian man on Monday during a raid in the occupied West Bank. Suleiman Awad, 20, was “killed by the (Israeli) occupation bullets, in Aqabat Jaber camp,” near the city of Jericho, according to the Palestinian Health Ministry.
Jihad Abu Al-Assal, the governor of Jericho, said Awad’s body was being held by the Israeli military. Three other people were wounded during the raid, sources said.
The Fatah movement, to which Awad belonged, said the “occupation’s continued crimes against our people indicate an Israeli tendency to escalate violence against the Palestinians.”
The head of the Palestinian National Council, Rawhi Fattouh, said the crime of “field execution” committed by the Israeli army was the result of instructions from “the political echelons of the right-wing criminal government.”
He added that the killings, assaults on religious sites, daily incursions into Palestinian areas, arrests, and the operation of military checkpoints during the Eid holiday to restrict the freedom of movement of Palestinian citizens amounted to a “racist and fascist method that will only increase our people’s insistence on steadfastness and resistance to thwart the occupation’s racist plans.”
The Palestinian Foreign Ministry condemned the Israeli military blockade of the entrances to cities and restrictions on the movement of Palestinians, describing it as a “collective punishment against citizens, including children, women, the sick and the elderly.”
An Israeli siege of Jericho, in the eastern West Bank, and its camps continued for a third day on Monday. The Foreign Ministry accused Israeli authorities of turning “holidays and events into tragedies for Palestinian citizens.” It added that the human rights of Palestinians were being violated so that Israelis could enjoy their time, security and freedoms.
At least 99 Palestinians have been killed by the Israeli army in the Occupied Territories since the beginning of the year.
During the raids on Monday, the Israeli army arrested six men from Nablus, two from Bethlehem, five from Hebron, three from Jericho and four from Jenin in the northern West Bank, according to Palestinian sources.
Also on Monday, dozens of Israeli settlers stormed the courtyards of Al-Aqsa Mosque under the protection of Israeli police after a hiatus of 10 days. Israeli police attacked the Gate of Mercy chapel at the mosque and cut its electrical lines, preventing Al-Aqsa guards from entering. Fans, lights, cables and loudspeakers were seized. Last Saturday, Israeli police entered Bab Al-Rahma chapel and vandalized it the same way.
The Council of Waqf, Islamic Affairs and Holy Sites in Jerusalem condemned the attacks and what it described as deliberate Israeli sabotage of maintenance and restoration work at Al-Aqsa. Bab Al-Rahma chapel reopened in February 2019, 16 years after it was closed and prayers inside it were halted by Israeli military authorities.
Palestinian officials expressed anger after groups of extremist settlers raised Israeli flags on the roof and walls of the Ibrahimi Mosque, south of Jerusalem. Palestinians have for many years accused Israelis of trying to Judaize the holy site and warn it could provoke a dangerous escalation that might plunge the region into a spiral of violence.
Meanwhile, the Israeli army announced the West Bank and Gaza Strip would be completely closed off from Monday evening until midnight on Wednesday, April 26, which marks the 75th anniversary of the founding of Israel.
Palestinian political analyst Riyad Qadriya told Arab News that the massive provocations by the Israeli military could result in a violent Palestinian reaction.
“There is intense competition between the ministers of the extreme right-wing Israeli government as to who will be the most radical in front of his party by abusing the Palestinians,” Qadriya told Arab News.
Elsewhere, three people were hit by a car that ran into a crowd in Jerusalem, police said. One of them, a 50-year-old, was unconscious and in serious condition, officials said. They described the driver of the vehicle as a “suspect” who was “neutralized on the spot.”