Four Palestinians including an elderly woman were injured after Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) opened fire on protesters in two separate villages in the occupied West Bank, Ma’an news agency reported Friday, while 15 Palestinians, including a prominent leader, were arrested.
Two Palestinian women, 72-year-old Yusra Mohammed al-Haj al-Abd and 48-year-old Jumana Ahmed Shayib, were injured by so-called “sponge” bullets in the village of Farun south of Tulkarem in the West Bank.
“Sponge” bullets are made from high-density plastic with a foam-rubber head, and are fired from grenade launchers. Israeli police have been using them in Occupied Palestine and annexed East Jerusalem since the use of rubber-coated metal bullets was prohibited there, but protocol explicitly prohibits firing them at the upper body.
An Israeli spokeswoman said the IOF had entered the village – which is in Area A, technically under full Palestinian control – on “some sort of routine patrol” and as they were leaving locals started “hurling stones” at them.
She claimed that Israeli forces fired at the “lower bodies” of the two women after they allegedly “hurled stones at the soldiers.”
However, according to Ma’an, both women, who were rushed to a nearby hospital for treatment, sustained “upper body” wounds.
Similarly, in a separate incident also on Friday, Israeli forces shot two Palestinian youths with “sponge” bullets during clashes in the al-Khalil town of Beit Ummar.
According to the Popular Resistance Committee in Beit Ummar spokesman, Mohammed Ayyad Awad, two Palestinian youths, 17 and 20, were injured in the head and hand by IOF fire, adding that dozens of Palestinians suffered from excessive tear gas inhalation.
Al-Khalil is home to roughly 160,000 Palestinians and around 500 Zionist settlers, who live in a number of illegal settlement compounds heavily guarded by Israeli troops.
Zionist settlers live in the center of al-Khalil’s Old City in line with a 1997 agreement that split the city into two areas. H1 is under the control of the Palestinian Authority, while H2 is under Israeli military occupation.
Awad said clashes broke out after Israeli forces raided the area, prompting Palestinian youths to hurl stones at the soldiers in protest.
Since September 2000, following the Second Intifada, at least 9,100 Palestinians have been killed by Israelis, including 2,053 Palestinian children, the equivalent of one Palestinian child being killed every three days for the past 14 years.
Israel detains DFLP leader
Meanwhile, the IOF detained a leader in the leftist Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine (DFLP) at a checkpoint in annexed East Jerusalem.
Nader Jaffal, 42, was arrested at an Israeli checkpoint near the illegal Ma’ale Adumim settlement, which occupies a strategic position on the main road between Jerusalem and Jericho.
According to Jaffal’s wife, Abeer, the soldiers claimed there was an arrest warrant, or what Israeli authorities call “an administrative detention order” against Jaffal, which in reality means that he could be detained without charge or trial for a potentially unlimited amount of time.
Jaffal, a father of three children, had spent around 15 years in Israeli jails for a number of charges.
Friday’s arrests came one day after the IOF detained 14 Palestinians in the village of Azzun near Qalqilya after a Molotov cocktail was thrown at an Israeli settler car.
Israeli news website Walla quoted Israeli military sources as saying that among the detainees were two individuals “suspected of involvement” in what Israeli authorities called a “terrorist attack.”
Over 7,000 Palestinians are currently languishing in 17 Israeli prisons and detention camps, according to the Palestinian Ministry of Prisoners’ Affairs.
Among Palestinian prisoners behind Israeli bars, there are 18 women, 250 children, 1,500 sick detainees, who are mostly in a critical condition, and 540 Palestinians held under administrative detention without any trial.
The roots of the Israel-Palestine conflict date back to 1917, when the British government, in the now-famous “Balfour Declaration,” called for “the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people.”
Israel occupied East Jerusalem and the West Bank during the 1967 Middle East War. It later annexed the holy city in 1980, claiming it as the capital of the self-proclaimed Zionist state – a move never recognized by the international community.
Source: Al-Akhbar English