Al-Khalil (Ma’an) — A seven-year-old Palestinian boy from the village of Zif south of Al-Khalil was hit Sunday morning by a vehicle driven by an Israeli settler, causing him moderate wounds.
Locals identified the victim of the incident as Hamada Ali Ayish Qareesh.
The boy was struck by the car while trying to cross a main road.
He was subsequently evacuated by an Israeli army ambulance to Soroka hospital in the city of Beersheba in southern Israel.
Recent months have seen a wave of hit-and-runs against Palestinians by Jewish settlers living in the occupied West Bank, as well as reprisal car attacks in Jerusalem.
In October, a settler ran over two Palestinian children as they walked near near Ramallah, killing 5-year-old Einas Khalil.
Three Palestinians were injured on Sunday afternoon after Israeli forces opened fire on protesters close to the Erez crossing on the border with Israel in the northern Gaza Strip.
Witnesses told Ma’an that Israeli troops fired gunshots at dozens of young protestors who approached the border fence after they partook in a rally in the area protesting the ongoing siege and demanding reconstruction of the Gaza Strip.
As a result, three young men sustained gunshot injuries, one of whom was hit in the thigh. He was evacuated to a hospital in nearby Beit Hanoun.
An Israeli military spokeswoman confirmed that Israeli forces had opened fire, saying that “40 or more Palestinians were hurling rocks and rioting violently” in the area and as a result, Israeli forces “attempted to disperse the riot” and “fired toward the main instigator’s lower extremities.”
The attack came as hundreds rallied across the Gaza Strip demanding reconstruction in the war-torn coastal enclave and protesting against Israel’s crippling siege, which has been in place for the last seven years.
The largest rally took place at the entrance to the Shujaiyya neighborhood of Gaza City, which was devastated by Israel’s 51-day-long summer assault that destroyed tens of thousands of homes and left nearly 110,000 Palestinians homeless.
Other rallies took place in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip, Bani Suheila and Nuseirat in the central Gaza Strip, as well as near the Erez crossing close to Beit Hanoun, where Israeli soldiers opened fire on marchers.
Witnesses said that protesters called upon Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to come to Gaza to supervise the reconstruction process, and called upon the international community to ensure progress is made.
Protesters are angry that despite Israeli promises made when the ceasefire was signed in August, the siege of Gaza continues, severely limiting the amount of reconstruction material like cement that is being allowed in.
The rallies came only a day after senior Hamas official Moussa Abu Marzouq slammed the government of national unity for failing to have carried out its duties in Gaza. He accused the government of refusing to take control and thus stymieing reconstruction as donors lacked a governmental partner to work with.
‘We will hold fast to the rifle’
At the Shujaiyya rally, senior Hamas official Ismail Radwan said in a speech that the siege imposed on Gaza and the closure of crossings “amount to war crimes against humanity and against the Palestinian people.”
“Without reconstruction and the end of the siege, the Gaza Strip will explode,” he warned.
Radwan urged the Palestinian president to file complaints against the leaders of the Israeli occupation at the International Criminal Court for the “massacres” they had committed, while also saying that Palestinians in the Strip would be steadfast in their resistance to Israeli aggression.
“In the name of the nationalist and Islamic forces in the Gaza Strip, we affirm that we won’t recognize Israel and we won’t commit to agreements signed with the occupation, but rather will hold fast to the rifle,” he said.
He also called upon Egypt to open the Rafah border crossing with Gaza so as to ease the suffering of the Palestinian people. Egypt has kept it largely closed in recent months, compounding the difficulties faced by Palestinians by closing their only link to the outside world.
A senior leader of the leftist Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine Salih Nasser said that progress in rebuilding the Gaza Strip will come through Palestinian unity, reconciliation, and partnership.
Salih called upon rival factions of Fatah and Hamas to stop the tit-for-tat incitement campaigns on media outlets and all other behaviors which only deepens rivalry and disagreement.
He also urged the United Nations, Arab countries and other donor countries to help rebuild the Gaza Strip.
Israel and Palestinian factions signed a ceasefire agreement on Aug. 26 after a deadly Israeli offensive on Gaza that left more than 2,100 — overwhelmingly civilians — dead.
The ceasefire deal stipulated an end to hostilities, and Israel agreed to ease its devastating blockade on the Strip and expand the fishing zone off Gaza’s coast.
Israel has however failed to do so, repeatedly shooting at fishermen in the Gaza coast and not implementing any meaningful easing of the siege, blocking reconstruction for the 110,000 left homeless by the summer assault.
Continued Cairo ceasefire talks to iron out further details of the truce were postponed to November following a deadly attack on Egyptian soldiers in the Sinai Peninsula.
Gaza has been under a severe economic blockade since 2007, set into place by Israel after Hamas won democratic elections and later took power in the Strip.
Lifting the blockade has been the main grievance of Gaza militant groups in the bloody conflicts with Israel in 2008-2009, 2012, and 2014.
Israeli forces detained four Palestinian men after storming several neighborhoods in East Jerusalem early on Sunday morning, a local official told Ma’an.
Amjad Abu Asab of the East Jerusalem Committee of Prisoners’ Families identified the detainees as 50-year-old man Sari al-Abbasi as well as Hamza al-Abbasi, Muhammad Yasser abu al-Hawa, and Fahd Shalabi.