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Strikes in West Bank after five killed by Israeli army

UPDATE: This article was updated in January 2023 to add further information on the killing of Raed Al-Naasan.

Jerusalem24 – Several governorates, commercial outlets and institutions are observing full strikes today after five Palestinians, four of them from the Ramallah governorate, were shot and killed by the Israeli military yesterday.

The Palestinian Bar Association announced last night the suspension of work in courts across all governorates of the West Bank throughout Wednesday.

Ever-rising death toll

By 8:00 AM on Tuesday, three Palestinians had already been killed in confrontations during two separate military raids in the occupied West Bank.

44-year-old Mufid Mohammad Mahmoud Khalil was shot and killed during confrontations that erupted between local residents and the Israeli army around midnight on Tuesday morning following an army incursion in Beit Ummar in Hebron.

Brothers Jawad and Dhafer Al-Rimawi, 22 and 21 respectively, were shot and killed a few hours later during confrontations that erupted with local youth when the military raided the village of Kafr Ein north of Ramallah.

New details have emerged surrounding the circumstances of their killing. According to Mowaffaq Sahwil, secretary of the Fatah movement in the Ramallah and Al-Bireh governorate, preliminary investigations indicate the Israeli military were firing live ammunition at the protestors. When Jawad was shot, Dhafer went to evacuate his injured brother and was immediately shot. Both were declared dead within half an hour of each other at Al-Istishari Hospital in Ramallah.

44-year-old Mufid Khalil (R), and brothers Dhafer Rimawi, 21, (C) and Jawad Rimawi, 22 (R).

Suspected car-ramming attack

The National and Islamic Forces in Ramallah and Al-Bireh announced a comprehensive strike across the governorate on Tuesday, with all commercial outlets and some public institutions closed, in mourning for the Rimawi brothers as well as Khalil.

Around two hours later, by mid-morning on Tuesday, reports emerged of injuries to an Israeli soldier after she was run over in a suspected car-ramming attack at a roundabout north of Ramallah. The Palestinian driver was shot and injured at the site and taken into Israeli custody, according to initial reports.

The military closed off the area and prevented Palestinian ambulances from reaching the driver.

Israeli media publicized the driver’s identity and announced his death by mid-afternoon; however the Public Authority for Civil Affairs, whom Israeli authorities communicate with on matters of identity of detained or killed Palestinians, only officially announced his death after 7:00 PM.

He was named as 45-year-old Rani Mamoun Fayez Abu Ali from Beitunia near Ramallah, a father of five.

According to Israeli media reports, Abu Ali had a permit to work in the illegal Israeli settlement of Ariel where he was employed at a supermarket.

Israeli police commissioner Kobi Shabtai praised the soldiers that killed Abu Ali, saying they did “great work,” and “acted as expected of Israeli police officers.”

“A dead terrorist is what I want to see,” he added.

Another youth shot dead

22-year-old Raed Ghazi Al-Naasan was shot and killed by the Israeli military during a raid on the village of Al-Mughayyir, north of Ramallah on Tuesday afternoon. Confrontations erupted with local youth during the raid, during which the youth threw stones at the army. The army opened fire using live ammunition on the crowd.

A video capturing the moment Al-Naasan was shot shows the gathered youth fleeing in the same direction after throwing some stones. Al-Naasan emerges in the frame, running, and collapses a few meters later. Nearby youth catch him as he falls and evacuate him as ambulance crews run to the scene. The video appears to show him bleeding profusely in the chest area.

The Israeli military stated on Twitter the same day that “a suspect was identified who threw a Molotov cocktail at the soldiers, who responded by shooting at him. A hit was identified.”

However in the video [NB: which was distributed by Palestinian media at the time of the incident and shared again by B’Tselem in January 2023] Al-Naasan can be momentarily seen with both hands at his side, and is not carrying a Molotov cocktail. He was running away when he was shot.

Al-Naasan was transferred to a medical clinic in the neighboring town of Turmusaya, and from there to Al-Istishari Hospital in Ramallah. The Ministry announced his death shortly before 6:00 PM.

Tear gas at funeral convoy

Following the car-ramming on Tuesday morning and the killing of Al-Naasan in the afternoon, the Israeli army closed the entrance to several villages in the Ramallah governorate, and set up military checkpoints on the roads leading to Al-Bireh, Nabi Saleh, Aboud, Silwad, Yabroud, Ras Karkar, and Al-Taybeh, stopping and searching vehicles and checking driver and passanger IDs.

The army also increased their presence in the vicinity of the illegal Israeli settlement of Halamish, west of Ramallah and Al-Bireh.

Other than the confrontations in Al-Mughayyir, during which Al-Naasan was shot and killed, confrontations broke out between local youth and the Israeli army in Silwad. The military fired rubber-coated metal bullets, tear gas and sound bombs at the protestors.

On Wednesday, the Israeli military blocked the entrance to the town of Turmusaya as Al-Nasaan’s funeral convoy was passing nearby, and fired tear gas at the mourners when clashes broke out.

“Immediate protection”

In the wake of yesterday’s killings, the Higher Presidential Committee for Church Affairs in the State of Palestine called on the international community to intervene urgently “to stop the war crimes committed by the Israeli occupation forces against the Palestinian people and to provide them with immediate protection.”

The Fatah movement also called on the international community “to exercise its role in stopping the systematic aggression against our people by the Israeli occupation”, to provide protection to the Palestinian people, and “to compel the occupation to comply with international law and relevant resolutions.”

The Israeli military have now shot and killed 142 Palestinians in the occupied West Bank including East Jerusalem this year, including 35 children. At least 86 of these were not involved in direct, armed confrontations with or attacks against the Israeli army or civilians when they were shot and killed, according to documentation collected by Jerusalem24.

Senior Israeli military sources were quoted by Haaretz on Monday as saying that the high number of Palestinian casualties proves that the army’s rules of engagement aren’t too restrictive for Israeli soldiers, as has been claimed by certain political parties vying for even looser terms and who believe soldiers’ “hands are tied”.

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