Police shot dead a young Palestinian with Israeli citizenship during an attempted arrest Saturday, threatening to inflame Palestinian anger as the top EU diplomat pushed for progress on the political front.
The dawn killing in Kfar Kana in northern Occupied Palestine comes against a backdrop of soaring Israeli-Palestinian tensions in annexed East Jerusalem where there have been near-daily clashes.
The 22-year-old intervened in the arrest of one of his relatives, threatening the officers with a knife, the Israeli police statement claimed.
The police shot him and he died on the way to hospital, it said.
Dozens of angry youths later erected barricades and set fire to tires on the outskirts of the village as police deployed reinforcements. According to Ma’an news agency, locals in the village announced a general strike in protest against the killing.
Palestinian citizens of Israel, who account for about 20 percent of the population in Occupied Palestine, are the descendents of Palestinian who remained on their land when the Zionist state was established in 1948. The majority of Palestinians were killed, expelled from their homes, or detained in work camps.
Palestinians with Israeli citizenship complain of routine discrimination, particularly in housing, land access and employment, and anger has risen in recent months over Israel’s assault on Gaza that left nearly 2,200 dead. More than 700 Palestinians in Israel were arrested in protests across the country against the attack over summer.
The shooting came after another night of clashes in occupied East Jerusalem as Israeli forces used rubber bullets, stun grenades and tear gas against youths throwing stones and firecrackers.
The violence was particularly intense at the Shuafat refugee camp, a maze of alleys crammed with Palestinian homes along the apartheid wall cutting off East Jerusalem from the occupied West Bank.
Community officials say the wave of unrest is fueled by a sense of hopelessness in East Jerusalem because of Israeli policies and the impunity of settlers and security forces who regularly attack Palestinians.
The anger has been further provoked by the relentless rise of Israel’s illegal settlement activities as well as efforts by far-right Zionist groups to secure prayer rights at the al-Aqsa mosque compound.
Speaking on her first official visit to Jerusalem, the European Union’s new foreign affairs chief Federica Mogherini said there was a real “urgency” to pick up and advance the moribund peace process.
“The risk is that if we do not move forward on the political track, we will go back… again to violence,” she told reporters.
But she also flagged up Israel’s settlement building in East Jerusalem and the West Bank as an “obstacle” to a negotiated peace. The settlements are deemed illegal under international law.
Shortly afterwards, Mogherini met Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu who gave a terse statement dismissing all criticism of his settlement policy.
“I reject the fictitious claim that the root of the continuous conflict is this or that settlement,” he said.
“Jerusalem is our capital and as such is not a settlement.”
Netanyahu ordered the security forces to either seal or demolish the homes of any Palestinian involved in anti-Israeli attacks, an official said Friday.
Mogherini was due to meet officials from the UN agency for Palestinian refugees in Gaza on Saturday.
She had also been scheduled to meet Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah but he cancelled his trip there after a series of bombs Friday hit the homes and cars of Gaza-based officials with the Fatah movement.
Fatah, the party of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, laid the blame on the Hamas movement, the ruling party in Gaza, as a new row broke out between the rival Palestinian factions.
Israel launched a brutal 50-day assault on Gaza earlier this year which resulted in the deaths of 2,140 Palestinians, more than 70 percent of them civilians, and 73 Israelis, 68 of them soldiers, and destroyed swathes of the Gaza strip.
Hamas announced Friday it was forming a thousands-strong “popular army” in the devastated Gaza Strip in response to what it called “serious Israeli violations” at al-Aqsa.
Frequent clashes occur around the compound between Israeli forces, who routinely restrict Palestinian access to the mosque, and protesters.
Source: Al-Akhbar English