Sunday, September 20, 2020

2 Palestinians killed during overnight raids in Ramallah and Nablus

By Beth Staton - June 23, 2014
Section: [Main News] [Life under Occupation]
Tags: [Ramallah] [Nablus] [Collective Punishment] [Palestinian Authority]

Heavy clashes followed the Israeli army raid in the center of Ramallah. Photo by Lazar Simeonov.

In a serious escalation of the military crackdown currently gripping the West Bank, Israeli troops invaded central Ramallah last night. As the sound of live ammunition echoed through the city’s streets, youth in Ramallah made the Palestinian Authority the target of furious protest, marking what could be seen as a turning point in events.

In the course of the night two Palestinians, one in Nablus and the second in Ramallah, were shot dead. The first, Ahmad Famawi, 26, reportedly died after he was shot by four rounds of live ammunition. Early this morning, the body of Mahmoud Ismail Atalla Tarifi was discovered on a rooftop near Manara Square, where it appears that the 30-year-old was shot in the head with live fire.

The raid on the city reportedly began at around midnight, when Israeli forces advanced on al-Bireh. Troops continued toward the city center, raiding several buildings, including the offices of news organisations Russia Today and This Week in Palestine. Witnesses living nearby reported that Ramallah’s Central Police Station was raided, although this has been denied by officials at the building.

By two am, troops were using live fire, rubber bullets and tear gas on the crowds that had amassed in the city center, resulting in at least 13 serious injuries in addition to the death of al-Tarifi. Palestinians lit tires in the street and threw stones.

“The jeeps arrived early, when the city center was still busy with people,” an eyewitness told Palestine Monitor. “There were many young men in the cafes watching the world cup games. It looks like the Israelis want to provoke a reaction – they want to say to the world that the Palestinians are a violent people.”

Anger at Palestinian Authority’s passivity in the face of Israeli aggression exploded to the surface in a dramatic way, as youth pelted Ramallah’s central police station with stones after the 10 or so Israeli army jeeps left the city center. “After the army left the shabab were gathering and shouting at the police,” Karam, an activist who was at the scene, said. “Suddenly there was a very big gathering moving towards the police station, and some youth started smashing police cars.

“Then there were police on the balcony, and they started shooting live ammo, shooting a lot, like crazy. One man got shot in the leg.”

In one video posted online, a large group are seen smashing police cars, throwing stones and attempting to force open the doors of the station with a rubbish skip, before fleeing to the sound of gunshots.

Although towns all over the West Bank have suffered raids, which Israeli authorities have justified as part of the search for three Israeli teenagers who disappeared near Hebron over a week ago, an incursion into the relatively peaceful “bubble” of Ramallah still has the power to shock. The response to the Palestinian Authority, which has long been the source of frustration and fury among the people, also represents a change in mood.

“The Israeli army has been raiding the West Bank constantly over the last few days and the Palestinian Authority has been doing nothing,” Karam said. “Most of the people that were here [during the protest], they’re not from Ramallah, they’re not NGO people. They’re from the refugee camps, from al-Amari, Jalazone, Qalandia. The Palestinian Authority doesn’t do anything for them, so they have a right to be angry.

“They have been chanting against the PA, calling them traitors openly in the street,” Karam said. 

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