Clashes in the West Bank Leave One Dead, 66 Injured

Published May 12th, 2017 - 02:09 GMT
A protest in support of Palestinian prisoners on hunger strike in Israeli jails, near the Jewish settlement of Beit El, north of the West Bank city of Ramallah on May 11, 2017. (AFP)
A protest in support of Palestinian prisoners on hunger strike in Israeli jails, near the Jewish settlement of Beit El, north of the West Bank city of Ramallah on May 11, 2017. (AFP)

Israeli forces killed a 23-year-old Palestinian in the village of Nabi Saleh in the occupied West Bank district of Ramallah on Friday after clashes broke out during a march in the village to support the some 1,600 Palestinians on hunger strike across Israeli prisons, while dozens of Palestinians were injured during clashes in Nablus and Hebron. 

In the Ramallah-area village of Nabi Saleh, Saba Abo Obaid from the West Bank district of Salfit was killed after being hit in the chest with a live bullet shot by Israeli forces after clashes erupted during the village’s weekly march, according to the Palestinian ministry of health. 
 
The ministry said that medical crews transported him to the Salfit governmental hospital after he sustained the injuries where his condition was reported critical. However, he was later declared dead by the ministry. 
 
The village had launched their weekly march following Friday prayers in solidarity with the hundreds of Palestinian prisoners on their 26th day of a mass hunger strike across Israeli prisons. 
 
An Israeli army spokesperson told Ma'an that "dozens of Palestinians were throwing rocks in Nabi Saleh." In response to the "immediate threat" and in order to "preserve quiet in the region," Israeli forces used "crowd dispersal means" on the Palestinian demonstrators. The spokesperson said she was aware that "one of the rioters had died and another was injured."
 
She confirmed that the Israeli army had opened live ammunition on the group of unarmed protesters. 
 
Obaid is the 21st Palestinian to be killed by Israeli forces and settlers since the start of 2017, several of whom were also shot dead amid clashes with Israeli forces. 
 
Meanwhile, at least 66 Palestinians were injured in the northern West Bank district in Nablus when clashes erupted with Israeli forces, including one Palestinian who was injured from a live bullet, several injuries from rubber-coated steel bullets, and dozens of others who suffered from tear gas inhalation, Head of the ambulance service for the Palestinian Red Crescent in Nablus Ahmad Jibreel told Ma’an. 
 
Witnesses said that clashes erupted between hundreds of Palestinians and Israeli forces following Friday prayers when Palestinians marched towards the Beita junction and Beit Furik checkpoint in a demonstration in support of the hunger strikers.
 
Jibreel told Ma'an that the Red Crescent had provided treatment to 40 Palestinian who had suffered from tear gas inhalation at the Beita junction, and 16 were injured with rubber bullets. He noted that clashes at the Beita junction were still ongoing as of 4 p.m.
 
Jibreel added that Israeli forces had directly opened live ammunition on three Red Crescent ambulances during clashes near Beit Furik, causing damage to the ambulances, inclduing shattering the windshields. 
 
In the southern West Bank district of Hebron, a number of Palestinians also suffered from tear gas inhalation during clashes with Israeli forces in the village of Beit Ummar. 
 
Local activist Muhammad Ayyad Awad told Ma’an that Israeli forces fired tear gas canisters at protesters after suppressing a march organized in the village in solidarity with the hunger strike. 
 
He said that Palestinians responded to Israeli forces by throwing rocks and empty bottles at soldiers and setting fire to rubber tires. 
 

Awad added that Israeli soldiers had stationed themselves on the roof of a house belonging to Mahmoud Saleh Abu Ayyash and began firing tear gas at youths, who were then provided treatment on the scene by medical crews.

An Israeli army spokesperson told Ma’an she would look into reports on all the clashes. 
 
Rights groups have routinely condemned Israel's use of excessive force against Palestinian protesters, which typically includes shooting rubber bullets, real bullets, tear gas canisters, stun grenades, and a variety of other weapons -- most of which have the potential to cause fatalities -- at Palestinians throwing rocks and the occasional Molotov cocktail.

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