A bloody week in Palestine by Ahmad Jaradat


Many described last week as a hard weekend in Palestine. Israeli forces killed seven youth : five Palestinians from Saeer and two from Jericho. Israeli forces also injured dozens of Palestinians in clashes in the West Bank.

Extrajudicial killings :

Saeer

On Tuesday, Israeli forces killed Ahmed Youis Kawazba, a 17 year old from Saeer, at the Gush Etzion junction. Many attended his funeral the following day. Ahmed was the sixth Palestinian from Saeer to be killed by Israeli forces since the Intifada began in October.

But, Thursday evening, at the same junction, Israeli forces killed three of Ahmed Kawazba’s cousins – 18-year-old Muhanned Kawazba, 19-year-old Salem Kawazba, and 18-year-old Alaa Kawazba.

The Gush Etzion junction is now called “the death junction” because Israeli bullets have killed so many Palestinians there over the course of this Intifada.

With these three deaths, Israeli forces had killed nine Palestinians from Saeer since October.

Later that same Thursday evening, 16-year-old Saeer resident Khaleel Shalalda, was executed at the southern entrance of Saeer, where hundreds of youth were demonstrating against the killings of the Kawazbas.

With Khaleel’s death, Israeli forces have killed ten youth from Saeer since October.

Thursday night, Israeli authorities declared Saeer – home to 30 thousand people – a "closed military zone." The entrances to the town were sealed with iron gates, like at Bait Aynoun, or with military checkpoints, like at the west entrance of the town that leads to Bethlehem and the eastern road in Saeer valley.

This is not the first time Saeer has been forcibly closed in recent months : Saeer was closed for two months at the onset of the Intifada and anyone under 30 years old was prohibited from leaving the Saeer.

In spite of these many encroachments, tens of thousands participated in funeral for the four martyrs on Saturday.

(Saturday’s funeral in Saeer)

Jericho

But, the killings this weekend were still not over : on Saturday morning, Israeli forces killed two Palestinians from Jenin using live fire at al-Hamra Checkpoint, north of Jericho. The martyrs were 34-year-old Saeed Abu Al Wafa from Jenin city and 18-year-old Ali Abu Maryam from Al Jadeda village.

Friday demonstrations :

Clashes took place in many areas on Friday and dozens of protestors were injured.

In Bethlehem, dozens of youth participated in demonstration at the north entrance of the city and clashed with Israeli soldiers. Israeli forces injured three protestors with rubber-coated steel bullets.

In Gaza, 14 Palestinians were wounded from live fire along on the border during large demonstrations organized in solidarity with West Bank and East Jerusalem Palestinians.

In Kufr Qaddum, a town east of Qalqilya in the northern West Bank, at least two Palestinians were wounded by live fire and rubber bullets.

In Bilin, a village west of Ramallah, dozens of soldiers attacked protestors with tear gas and rubber-coated steel bullets during the weekly demonstration against the Separation Wall and settlements.

In Beit Ommar and al-Arroub Camp, north of Hebron District, clashes broke out when soldiers attacked dozens of youth who organized a protest against the occupation. Israeli forces injured four Palestinians with rubber-coated metal bullets.

In Ramallah, clashes broke out in Batonya, a town in the west of the district. Five Palestinians were wounded by rubber-coated metal bullets and dozens of others suffered from tear gas inhalation.