Clashes as Extremist Jews March in West Bank Village; Palestinian Reportedly Shot

Palestinians throw stones and push boulder towards settlers in the West Bank village of Qusra

An Israeli border policeman argues with a Palestinian man during clashes in the West Bank village of Qusra, December 4, 2017.
MOHAMAD TOROKMAN/REUTERS

Palestinians reported Monday that one person was seriously wounded in clashes between Palestinians and the Israeli army in the West Bank village of Qusra. The clashes broke out in the aftermath of a protest by extermist Jewish settlers on the outskirts of the village

The army said there were riots in the village, with a large number of army and police forces present and that it was investigating Palestinian claims that there were injuries. They also said that although the settlers needed a permit from them to be in that area which is Palestinian controlled, they never applied for one.

The Palestinian Red Crescent said a seriously injured Palestinian from Qusra had been taken to a hospital in Nablus. 

Dozens of right-wing Jewish activists were near the village earlier on Monday for a "protest trip" in response to a violent encounter there last week.

Last Thursday a 48-year-old Palestinian man was killed in Qusra after Palestinians attacked a group of young Israeli hikers. Palestinians threw stones at the hikers, and one the adults accompanying them drew his gun and said he fired in the air.

The army said the man who died last week, identified by the Palestinian Health Ministry as Mahmoud Zael Oudeh, was killed by this shooting, but a source in the Israel Police said it is unclear what the army was basing this claim on.

Two Israelis in their forties were also lightly wounded in the incident.

Monday's march was organized by a radical group called Otzma Yehudit (Jewish Power) and sought to reach "the cave in which children were hidden" during last week's incident. They said the army was informed of the event but that no authorization was requested or given. They said the march was meant to be a "a demonstration of Jewish presence" that would make it clear that the area was a hiking destination.

Settlers who participated in the march said they managed to reach the cave, which is adjacent to the village, before they were attacked: "A big hubbub started, dozens of Arabs from the village were waiting for us Jews, but the police are in the area," said one of the settlers on condition of anonymity.