Sunday, March 21, 2010

4 Palestinian youth killed in West Bank by Israeli military in less than 24 hours

Dear friends,

the terrible news has come through that the Israeli military has shot dead 4 Palestinian youth in less than 24 hours in the West Bank. Mohammed Qaddous, age 16, was killed when he was shot from behind by the Israeli military with live ammunition. Ussayed Qaddous, 19, from the same village of Iraq Burin was also shot in the head with live ammunition and died several hours later. The Israeli military has denied the use of live ammunition, despite medical proof to the contrary.

My teammates from the International Women's Peace Service (IWPS), Marie and Gwen, were in the village at the time of the shootings and I have included their initial report below [at the time of the report was written the second boy, Ibrahim remained in coma. Sadly, he died later].

Two other Palestinian from the village of Awarta, which is also in the Nablus region were shot dead by the Israeli military in the hours following the death of the first two boys. The Israeli military is claiming the two boys attacked them with pitchforks. However, according to my team mates from IWPS, who have since visited Awarat, the villagers have contradicted the IOF's story, saying that Muhammed Faysal (19 yrs) and Salah Muhammad Qawariq (16 years), were in fact killed by settlers.

Reports in the Haaretz have reported Palestinian Authority spokespersons saying that witnesses stated that the two young men were killed in cold blood after they had been arrested and bound by the IOF.

According to Marie and Gwen, while they can not ascertain the manner of the boys death at this time, they believe the story about the boys attacking the IOF is unlikely. What is not in dispute, however, according to my team mates is that the boys were unarmed and were killed in cold blood.

In addition, to the report from my colleagues at IWPS, I have also included a report from Haaretz on the 4 shootings and a report from YNet on the first two deaths in Iraq Burin.

In solidarity, Kim


Medical Xray of live ammunition lodge in the skull of Ussayed Qadous.
Photograph by Salma aDeb'i - B'Tselem



Today, March 20th, Gwen and I responded to a call earlier in the week by the Mayor of Iraq Burin, Abu Haitham, to be an international presence in his village during what has become weekly clashes between armed settlers and Israeli soldiers and unarmed villagers.

We arrived at the village a little after 11:00am and were soon joined by a group of international volunteers from Project Hope who work in the Nablus refugee camps, who were there for informational resources rather than villager accompaniment, then a little later a couple of ISM’ers . Later in the day members of EEAPI came to be a presence for a time.

We gathered at a community building in the village and were given some history on the problems the villagers of Iraq Burin has had with the illegal settlement of Bracha, their inhabitants and the military. Construction on the settlement began in 1982 taking land from neighboring villages Burin and Kufr Kalil, and now plan to expand onto land belonging to Iraq Burin. According to the coordinator for the Project Hope delegation, Israel plans to link the settlements around the Nablus area to the Larger settlement of Ariel.

According to Israeli law, if land is left unused it reverts to the state (of Israel) after 3 years. The villagers of Iraq Burin held their weekly Friday prayers on the land surrounding their village that wasn’t being used for agriculture. About six months ago the military began denying the village access to this land. The villagers went to court and got an order giving them freedom to access all their land. However, settlers began attacking them during their Friday prayers. The military was called in but did not prevent the settlers from attacking. Instead, they acted as escorts for the settlers. The settlers began “holding prayers” at a well on the land of Abu Haitham. In actuality, they have thrown stones in the well, swam in it and made it unfit for potable water.

The villagers then proposed they would not hold demonstrations against the settlers if they would be allowed access to their land on Saturdays to plant. This was agreed to by the military; however, access to their land on Saturdays has been met with violent resistance by both the settlers and the military.

In the past couple of weeks 15 people have been injured in settler violence.

Today, when we arrived in Iraq Burin their were approximately 12 soldiers visible on the hills surroundng the village. After our meeting with the Mayor and other internationals, about 50 people proceeded toward part of the land in dispute. Soldiers (not those in position when we first arrived but rather another group) immediately began provoking the villagers with taunts and shooting live ammunition into the air in an attempt to disperse the gathering. This went on for about 10 minutes. The military then began shooting tear gas as well as the live ammo. There was a retreat of the demonstration, then the demonstration would go back, replaying the scene of violence over and again for several hours.

When it appeared that the military was retreating for the day IWPS and ISM prepared to leave. Suddenly, there was a great commotion with villagers running toward the village and yelling. Five or Six military jeeps came into the village from the road while those who had been engaged in the demonstration came down from the hills. Heavily armed soldiers began a house to house search, and arrested 3 young men. At one house an ISMer attempted to enter the house with the soldiers to document their treatement of the inhabitants but he was physically blocked from entering.

We followed the soldiers to each house they raided, but unfortunately there were too few of us to adequately document the human rights abuses. While we were shadowing the soldiers we heard what I assumed to be tear gas explosions in another part of the village. After the soldiers completed their house raids they quickly exited the area and soon after villagers again started running toward the center of the village. As well, ambulances headed in the same direction. We followed and heard that teenagers had been shot, a 16 year old by the name Muhammed of was shot in the back and a 15 year old named Ibrihim was shot in the head. According to villagers they were shot with live ammunition. At the time of this writing, we are waiting to hear of the condition of Ibrihim, who is in surgery.
Written by Marie
Edited by Gwen

Mohammed Qaddous: Photograph by Salma aDeb'i - B'Tselem

Mohammed Qaddous: Photograph by Salma aDeb'i - B'Tselem

Last update - 21:46 21/03/2010
PA accuses Israel of killing Palestinian teens 'in cold blood'

By Amos Harel, Haaretz Correspondent, and News Agencies
Tags: Israel news, Nablus, IDF

Senior Palestinian Authority officials on Sunday accused Israel of escalating tensions after Israeli soldiers killed four Palestinian youth in the West Bank in 24 hours.

Palestinian government spokesman Ghassan Khatib called for an independent investigation into the killing of 19-year-old cousins Mohammed Qawariq and Saleh Qawariq on Sunday, who were shot by Israel Defense Forces troops who they attempted to stab with a pitchfork. The soldiers were not harmed in the incident.

Khatib cited witness accounts that the two had been shot only after being arrested, while Mahmoud al-Aloul, a senior figure in the Fatah party led by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, said the youth had been killed
in "cold blood".

"Nobody can imagine that we can stand with our hands tied vis-a-vis what is happening," Aloul told around 1,500 mourners at their funeral in Awarta, south of Nablus.

According to initial reports, soldiers from the IDF's Nahshon Battalion were stationed south of the Israeli settlement of Itamar in order to protect Palestinians plowing their land.

"Two men tried to stab a soldier during a routine patrol near the Awarta security crossing near Nablus. The force opened fire and confirmed their death," an army spokeswoman said.

Earlier Sunday, a 19-year-old Palestinian died of wounds sustained one day earlier when IDF troops opened fire on demonstrators south of Nablus.

Oseyd Abd al-Nasser Kadus was hit in the midriff by a rubber-coated bullet and was taken to the hospital in Nablus, where he had been listed in critical condition.

Another youth, Ibrahim Abd al-Khader Kadus, 16, died Saturday after being hit in the heart by a rubber-coated bullet fired by IDF troops.

The two were wounded clash after IDF soldiers tried to prevent clashes between Israeli settlers and Palestinians near the village of Iraq Burin, south of Nablus. Villagers own land that borders the nearby settlement of Bracha.

Nabil Abu Rdainah, a spokesman for Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, said Israel had responded to U.S. and international efforts to revive peace talks "with more escalation" that thwarted attempts to get negotiations going.

The head of the local village council, Abd al-Rahim Kadus, told Haaretz that every Saturday settlers come to the village, attack the locals and destroy property, leading to clashes with the Palestinians.

Israeli troops usually intervene to break up the fighting, which then turns into a confrontation between young villagers and the soldiers.

The Palestinians maintain that the two teenagers were hit by live ammunition and that the soldiers prevented Palestinian medical staff from evacuating them. The two teenagers were subsequently rushed to the hospital in private cars.

The IDF began an investigation into the incident, which marked the first killing of a Palestinian in months. Army sources told Haaretz that the Palestinians' claim that live rounds were fired is false.

The human rights group B'Tselem, which sent an investigator to the hospital in Nablus, said that both casualties were the result of live rounds.

In recent weeks demonstrations have taken place in the area by villagers, who have also pelted soldiers with stones

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