IDF kills 3 Palestinians – and hopes for peace talks
This posting has several short news items (2,3,5,6) and two longer articles on the new unrest:
1) Times of Israel: Palestinians don’t care if ‘soldiers felt threatened’;
2) +972: WATCH: Soldiers open fire on stone-throwers in Qalandia, three killed, videos from Qalandiya;
3) Ma’an: UNRWA employee among 3 killed in Israel raid ;
4) AP/Time:Israeli Troops Kill 3 Palestinians in West Bank, August 26th;
5) Ma’an: Young activists enforce commercial strike in Ramallah, August 27th;
6) Ma’an: Israeli forces raid Jenin area village, clash with residents, August 27th;
Hundreds attend the funeral of three Palestinian men shot dead by Israeli troops in the Qalandiya refugee camp in the West Bank, Monday, August 26, 2013. Photo by Issam Rimawi/Flash90.
Palestinians don’t care if ‘soldiers felt threatened’
Deadly clashes with Israeli troops underline a groundswell of resistance in the West Bank, a rise in terror alerts, and flagging faith in the peace process
By Avi Issacharoff
August 26, 2013
The clashes early Monday morning in the Qalandiya refugee camp south of Ramallah, in which three young Palestinians were killed, underline that the relative quiet in the West Bank these past few months is temporary and fragile. While the three deaths did not cause a violent outbreak of intifada-like proportions, it’s hard to ignore the fact that lately, the IDF’s incursions into PA territory, particularly refugee camps, have ended with casualties, whose funerals have been potentially extremely explosive.
As with an incident in the Jenin refugee camp six days ago, the attempted arrest of a terror suspect led to a severe conflagration involving young residents of the Qalandiya camp and IDF troops, during which the soldiers were forced to open fire because they perceived that they were in danger. The soldiers’ claims received validation from an unexpected source, when the various video clips taken by the Palestinian residents of Qalandiya showed the soldiers being pelted with anything people could get their hands on, including bricks and rocks.
The videos do not show the activities of the undercover units operating in the camp that resulted in the arrest of the suspect; rather, they show the violence that erupted between the relief forces — who arrived in Qalandiya to extract the undercover soldiers — and hundreds of youths. Based on testimony of the soldiers and residents of the camp, nearly 1,000 Palestinians threw rocks at the soldiers.
Later, there were reports citing “senior Palestinian officials” to the effect that a round of peace talks slated to take place Monday in Jericho was canceled due to the Qalandiya incident and in protest over the three deaths. These reports were a bit inaccurate, to say the least. A senior Palestinian source told The Times of Israel that no negotiations between the Israeli and Palestinian teams had been scheduled for Monday in Jericho, and neither has the Palestinian leadership decided to cancel any future meetings.
The sense that one gets from this, and from the official denial by the State Department that negotiations were canceled, is that somebody on the Palestinian side wanted to create the impression that the PA called off a session of negotiations that never existed. However, both sides were extremely careful not to divulge any information as to when the next round of talks would take place, while acknowledging that negotiations would, in fact, continue.
The real issue isn’t whether or not the talks will continue. The real issue is that there has been a Palestinian reawakening “on the ground.” The number of current terror alerts from the West Bank attests to this — the figures have recently risen dramatically, after a period of relative quiet. On the one hand, the IDF and Shin Bet have stepped up their efforts to prevent terror attacks from being carried out; on the other hand, it should be noted that when operations take place in areas such as the refugee camps, there is significant risk of a larger-than-usual flare-up.
Operations that encounter difficulties in heavily populated areas almost always lead to clashes, violent attempts to retreat, injuries, etc. For the Palestinian public, explanations such as “The Israeli forces were in danger” or “The soldiers felt threatened” are completely irrelevant. For many who live in the West Bank, Monday’s killing of three Palestinians is only a part of Israel’s plan to thwart the negotiations as it continues to build up its Jewish settlements. Thus, the nearly nonexistent trust between the two sides is only eroded after such incidents, and the chance of success in the negotiations crumbles with it.
August 26, 2013
Three Palestinians, including one man released in the Shalit prisoner exchange, were shot to death by IDF forces this morning in Qalandia refugee camp, near Ramallah. UPDATE: According to the latest reports, the former prisoner, Yusuf Khatib, was the target of the IDF arrest operation, and was not among those who died.
The incident began when plainclothes soldiers who entered the camp to carry out arrests were exposed by local residents. According to reports in the Israeli media, after being attacked with stones and rocks, the soldiers used live ammunition to rescue themselves out of the refugee camp. Rubin al-Abed, 32, Yunis Jahjuh, 22, and Jihad Aslan, 20, died from the shooting. Palestinian sources are reporting at least another 15 wounded.
13 Palestinians have been killed this year from IDF fire in the West Bank.
UPDATE: The Palestinian Authority canceled the next scheduled negotiations meeting with Israel following the events in Qalandia.
Here are three clips from the events this morning. In the top video you can see a couple of armed vehicles attacked with stones. The shots are clearly heard in the bottom videos.
August 26, 2013
BETHLEHEM — One of the three Palestinians killed in an Israeli raid in the occupied West Bank early Monday was an employee of the UN’s Palestine refugee agency, a spokesman said.
Chris Gunness said that the employee, who he did not identify by name, was shot dead by Israeli forces and killed instantly in an operation in Qalandia refugee camp at about 7 a.m.
He cited reports that the 34-year-old father of four was on his way to work and not involved in violent activity.
“UNRWA condemns the killing of its staff member and calls on all sides, at this delicate time, to exercise maximum restraint and to act in accordance with obligations under international law,” Gunness said.
He said the agency was conducting an investigation into the killing.
By Mohammed Daraghmeh, AP / Time
August 26, 2013
QALANDIA REFUGEE CAMP, West Bank — Israeli soldiers killed three Palestinians in clashes during an arrest raid in the West Bank, a Palestinian official and the Israeli military said Monday, in the deadliest incident in the area in years.
The violence came as Israel and the Palestinians are holding rounds of peace talks in the first such meetings in five years since serious negotiations collapsed. The early morning violence casts a cloud on another round of talks expected later in the day.
An official at a Ramallah hospital said the three died from gunshot wounds sustained in the nearby refugee camp of Qalandia. More than a dozen others were wounded, he said, speaking anonymously as he wasn’t allowed to talk with the media.
Palestinian Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah condemned the incident. “Such a crime proves the need for an urgent and effective international protection for our people,” he said in a statement.
Israeli border police spokesman Shai Hakimi said officers were on a raid to apprehend a suspect when hundreds of Palestinians poured into the streets and hurled firebombs, concrete blocks and rocks at the officers.
He said officers used riot control munitions, a term that usually refers to rubber bullets and tear gas. He said police are investigating the incident.
The Israeli military said soldiers rushed to the scene after a different force came under attack. It said soldiers opened fire after they felt their lives were in “imminent danger.”
“Large violent crowds such as this which significantly outnumber security forces leave no other choice but to resort to live fire in self-defense,” said military spokesman, Lt. Col. Peter Lerner.
Hatim Khatib, whose brother Youssef was arrested in the raid, told The Associated Press that undercover troops dressed in civilian clothes arrived at their home at 4:30 a.m. looking for the brother.
“After half an hour we started hearing shooting from the soldiers inside our house, and then people started throwing stones at them,” he said.
Youssef was arrested after he returned from morning prayers at 7.00 a.m., he said.
He said he didn’t know why his brother was arrested but said he had spent time in Israeli jail for throwing rocks and was released three years ago. The Israeli military would not elaborate as to why he was wanted.
By Ma’an news
August 27, 2013
RAMALLAH – A group of Palestinian young men on Monday afternoon forced shop owners in Ramallah in the central West Bank to shut down their stores to mourn three young Palestinians who were shot dead in the morning by Israeli troops in nearby Qalandia refugee camp.
Palestinian factions have not officially announced a general strike in the city, but youth activists affiliated to the Palestinian president’s Fatah movement decided to paralyze the city in protest against the killings in Qalandia.
By Ma’an news
August 27, 2013
JENIN – Two young Palestinian men were hit by rubber-coated bullets, and several others choked as they inhaled tear gas during clashes with Israeli forces in Sanur village near Jenin Monday evening.
Locals told Ma’an that Israeli forces raided the village and ransacked the home of a senior Fatah leader to summon his son to an Israeli intelligence office for interrogation.
An intelligence officer, they said, identified himself as Yaish and he briefly questioned Yazid Habaybi, son of secretary-general of Fatah movement in Sanur Fawwaz Habaybi before he handed him a summons demanding that he appear at Salem interrogation centre.
Sources in the Red Crescent said ambulances evacuated two young men to a public hospital in Jenin. Khalil Walad Ali, and Muamin Abu Gharbiyya were hit by rubber-coated bullets in the head and the neck. Several others were hurt by tear gas which Israeli forces fired heavily “as usual,” they said.
Separately, young men clashed with Israeli troops in the village’s centre near the main mosque. Witnesses said that young Palestinians pelted the soldiers with stones and empty bottles, and they responded with tear gas and rubber-coated bullets.