Israeli troops shoot 15-year-old boy dead in West Bank, Palestinian health ministry says

Military claims it was responding to ‘violet riot’ involving hundreds of Palestinians

Conrad Duncan
Wednesday 11 March 2020 17:16
At least 17 people have reportedly been injured after confrontations between Palestinians and Israeli soldiers
At least 17 people have reportedly been injured after confrontations between Palestinians and Israeli soldiers

A 15-year-old boy has been shot dead by Israeli troops during clashes near a city in the West Bank, the Palestinian health ministry has said.

The teenager, identified as Mohammed Hamayel, was shot in the head during confrontations with Israeli soldiers in the village of Beita, near Nablus, and died in hospital shortly after, the ministry said.

Tarif Ashour, a spokesperson for the health ministry, said 17 people were injured in the clashes and treated in hospital, with two in serious condition, the WAFA Palestinian news agency reported.

The Israeli military has said it was responding to a “violent riot” of about 500 Palestinians, many of whom reportedly threw rocks at troops and set tyres on fire.

The military added that it was reviewing the incident.

Palestinians said they were protesting at the site in response to an alleged Israeli plan to confiscate land for nearby settlements.

Demonstrators have been staging sit-ins since 28 February to deter illegal Israeli settlers from establishing a settlement outpost in the area, according to Al Jazeera.

Fuad Maali, Beita’s mayor, said the settlers had renewed attempts overnight but were blocked by hundreds of local residents who camped out to stop them.

When the Israeli military arrived to disperse the demonstration, the protesters began throwing stones at the soldiers, Palestinian witnesses said.

The witnesses said the Israeli military responded with tear gas and rubber-coated bullets, while the health ministry has claimed the deceased teenager was struck by a live bullet.

Although clashes often erupt in the Israeli-occupied West Bank between Palestinian protesters and the Israeli military, crowds are typically dispersed by non-lethal means.

Israel captured the West Bank in the 1967 Middle East war along with east Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip, territories the Palestinians want for their future state.

In February, the Israeli settlement watchdog group Peace Now warned that Israel was moving forward with plans to build more than 1,700 homes for settlers in the West Bank.

The approvals came just weeks after the Trump administration unveiled its Middle East peace plan, which sides with Israel on many points of contention and has been rejected by the Palestinian National Authority.

The plan would allow Israel to annex parts of the West Bank, including its 120 settlements and the 500,000 settlers who live there, and envisioned Jerusalem as the undivided capital of Israel.

However, the Trump administration’s proposal fell short of granting the Palestinians a state and offered only limited autonomy over disjointed chunks of land which would require them to accept a set of stringent demands.

Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian president, described the deal as “nonsense” and said it was “impossible for any Palestinian, Arab, Muslim or Christian child to accept” a state without Jerusalem.

“I say to Trump and Netanyahu: Jerusalem is not for sale; all our rights are not for sale and are not for bargain. And your deal, the conspiracy, will not pass,” he added.

Additional reporting by AP

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