Second Palestinian killed in as many days after clashes near Nablus

PNN / Bethlehem

A second Palestinian has been killed in as many days after clashes broke out in the northern town of Urif, near Nablus, on Saturday.

Amir Omar Shahada, 19, was shot in he chest by IOF forces and rushed to Rafidia Hospital in Nablus where he later succumbed to his wounds, according to the Palestinian Ministry for Health.

Clashes broke out on Saturday when Israeli settlers from the Yitzhar settlement near Nablus invaded Urif village Saturday evening, according to sources quoted by the Palestinian press.

Reportedly, a second Palestinian, aged 16, was also shot in the leg during Saturday’s clashes.

The Yitzhar settlement is notorious for being a hotbed for acts of Jewish extremism, especially among the settlement’s youth population.

In 2017, 3 youths from Yitzhar were arrested for throwing stones at Israeli military ambulances.

Residents of Yitzhar in the past have also been accused of, and in some cases charged with, undertaking ‘price tag’ attacks in which acts of violence are committed by settler groups against Palestinian citizens in retaliation for perceived anti-settlement policy from the Israeli central government.

In 2015, settlers firebombed a Palestinian home in the village of Duma, killing an 18-month old child who was sleeping inside, in one such ‘price tag’ attack.

A 2008 article by the New York Times called Yitzhar ‘an extremist bastion on the hilltops commanding the Palestinian city of Nablus … [where] a local war is … being waged.’

As reported by the Haaretz, the IOF spokesman contradicted the course of events on Saturday, stating that a ‘mutual confrontation between the Palestinians and settlers’ broke out when Palestinians from Urif were spotted heading towards Yitzhar.

The Haaretz reported that the incident is still being investigated.

A second Palestinian was killed on Friday when clashes broke out in Hebron.

Muhammed Zain Jabri, 24, was shot by live fire and later succumbed to his wounds in hospital.

Jabri was reportedly mute and deaf, as well as a father of two.

These latest deaths come amid ongoing tensions after US President Donald Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as the capital Israel, causing an international crisis and derailing the then US-led peace initiative.

The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA) reported that between the outbreak of clashes on 6 December 2017 and 30 January 2018, 20 Palestinians were killed and 5,000 more injured.

UNOCHA expressed concern at the use of excessive force, drawing on a case in which a 16-year old Palestinian was killed near Ramallah in January.

‘The soldiers responded by firing live ammunition to disperse the youths without trying to use less lethal means,’ said the UNOCHA.