15-year-old Palestinian Critically Injured by IDF Fire in West Bank

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A fifteen year old Palestinian was severely wounded on Friday after being shot by soldiers. The youth, wounded after confrontations between soldiers and youths at the A'ida refugee camp near Bethlehem, was taken first to the local hospital and later to Hadassah University Hospital, Ein Karem.

Early this week, two Palestinians were killed in the West Bank by IDF fire. On Saturday, 21-year-old Uday Kamil Mohammed Darwish, from a village near Hebron was killed after trying to cut through the security fence in the Metzadot Yehuda. On Tuesday 16-year-old Palestinian Samir Awad was killed near the village of Budrus. Investigations have been opened into both cases, where it seems that IDF troops acted against procedure governing when it is permissible to open fire.

In Friday's incident, witnesses in the refugee camp accused IDF soldiers stationed in the Rachel Tomb area of provoking the local residents. An IDF spokesperson said that the confrontation broke out after thirty Palestinians approached the Tomb, and hurled an explosive – and rocks - at the soldiers. The spokesperson added that "according to the initial inquiry the force shot at a Palestinian that approached it with a slingshot. The event is still being examined."

The spokesperson added that IDF soldiers also shot live rounds at dozens of Palestinians in Beit Lahiya, in the north of the Gaza Strip, and wounded one Palestinian. The soldiers opened fire after the Palestinians approached the fence, in an area where access is prohibited by the IDF.

An independent Palestinian observer told Haaretz that events in recent weeks reflect an all-around escalation: "The feeling throughout the West Bank is anger and rage – directed both at the Palestinian Authority because of the difficult economic situation and the lack of any change on the ground, and at Israel because of the settlement drive and the daily provocations by the settlers. Many believe that we have reached a point where decisions need to be taken, especially since the Palestinian Authority cannot supply answers. Nobody is enthusiastic about a third intifada, but if it does break out, it will be more similar to the first than the second, using stones not weapons, an intifada against the occupation, against Israel and against the Oslo Accords that, ultimately, made us a nation of beggars, not a nation on its way to independence."

Some fifteen Palestinian and Israeli activists were arrested Saturday as they were trying to reach Palestinian owned lands near the Mizpeh Yair outpost in the South Hebron Hills.

Palestinians from the Susia area were joined by Ta'ayush activists, but Judea and Samaria District Police forces awaited them at the site announcing it a "closed military area." After that, an argument broke out between the sides ten Palestinians and five Israeli activists were arrested and taken to Hebron police station. Among the Palestinians was a woman with her two-year-old baby.

One of the activists told Haaretz that "in recent months there is a clear effort to expel Palestinians from the private lands near settlements and outposts. This is done despite unequivocal High Court of Justice rulings and directives of the Attorney General, stressing the IDF's duty to enable Palestinians to reach and cultivate their lands."

IDF forces arresting Ta'ayush activists in the South Hebron Hills.Credit: Ta'ayoush

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