Fifteen Arrested in West Bank Riots as Thousands Mark One Month Since Death of Settler Teen

Hagar Shezaf
Hagar Shezaf
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Gush Etzion junction in the West Bank, January 22, 2021.
Gush Etzion junction in the West Bank, January 22, 2021.Credit: Bat Ayin settlement
Hagar Shezaf
Hagar Shezaf

Thousands protested Thursday throughout the West Bank to mark a month since the death of an Israeli teen suspected of throwing stones at Palestinians during a car chase with police.

Protesters blocked roads and threw stones at Palestinian cars in related incidents on Thursday. According to the right-wing group Honenu, 15 protesters were arrested, one of whom was injured while being taken into custody. Most of those arrested were released after the protest, Honenu said.

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A five-year-old boy was injured in the face by stones thrown at a car at the Givat Assaf Junction near Ramallah. Settlers also threw stones at Palestinian cars at Nabi Ilyas, east of Qalqilya where four vehicles were hit; at Yizhar Junction, where one vehicle was hit and near the settlement of Shavei Shomron, where a windshield was smashed. Windows and windshields were smashed in the village of Jinsafut near the settlement of Karnei Shomron, as well.

“The settlers came to the village through an entrance near the settlement of Immanuel,” the head of the Jinsafut council, Eid Eid, said. “They came into the village on foot at around 10:30 and broke windows on a bus, a windshield of another car nearby and about six windows of a house. The owner of the house came out and they started to run away and on the way they broke another windshield."

Eid added that the residents of Jinsafut called the Civil Administration and police and soldiers arrived at the site.

A protest over the death of Ahuvia Sandak, in Jerusalem, January 2, 2021.Credit: Ohad Zwigenberg

Munir Qaddus, a Yesh Din field investigator, said settlers also threw stones at two houses near Yizhar Junction. The windows were covered with screens because of their proximity to routine scenes of violence, and therefore they were not damaged. Later, Qaddus said, soldiers fired tear gas at Palestinians at the site.

Ahuvia Sandak, 16, a resident of Bat Ayin in the Gush Etzion settlement bloc, was killed last month after police chased after him and his friends, who were suspected of throwing stones at Palestinians in the West Bank. Officers crashed into their car from behind, causing it to flip, fatally injuring Sandak and lightly to moderately injuring his friends

Protests have continued on a nearly daily basis since his death, accompanied by a rise in violent incidents against Palestinians in the West Bank. Last week the Jerusalem Magistrate’s Court decided to hold another hearing on the request of Sandak’s family to appoint a judge to investigate the circumstances of his death.

The High Court of Justice has rejected the family’s petition to transfer the investigation of Sandak’s death from the police to the Justice Ministry unit that investigates police misconduct. According to sources familiar with the details of the investigation, the case against the police officers involved in the incident would soon be closed.

The Justice Ministry is investigating the police officers who pursued the vehicle in which Sandak was riding, while the police investigate suspicions of stone-throwing at a patrol car during the car chase where Sandak died. A joint team has been established to investigate the other teens in the car chase for reckless homicide.

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