HEBRON: Palestinian stabbed an Israeli soldier yesterday in the flashpoint West Bank city of Hebron before being shot dead, the army said, in the fourth such attack in under 24 hours. A military statement said the attacker drew a knife during a routine security check in Hebron’s Tel Rumeida neighborhood, wounding the soldier. “In response to the immediate threat, forces at the scene shot the assailant, resulting in his death,” the statement said.
The Palestinian health ministry named the man killed as Hatem Al-Shaloudi, 25. He was a resident of Tel Rumeida, as was 16-year-old Mohammed Rajabi, who was shot dead during an attack on Friday. Rajabi was one of three alleged assailants killed while carrying out attacks on Israelis, two in and around occupied Hebron and one in Israeli-annexed east Jerusalem. Another man was killed on Thursday, also in Hebron, after allegedly trying to evade arrest by the Israeli military.
One of Friday’s dead, 28-year-old Saeed Amro, was a Jordanian national visiting Jerusalem, and Amman yesterday denounced his killing as a “barbaric act” by Israel. “Amro was part of a group of tourists who had entered the Palestinian territories on Thursday to visit Jerusalem,” foreign ministry spokeswoman Sabah Refai said in Amman. Many Palestinians hold Jordanian passports, and Israeli police said on Friday they were checking if Amro also had Palestinian papers. But a Jordanian official source told AFP that he was not Palestinian.
Senior Palestinian official Hanan Ashrawi condemned Israel’s actions. “Israel is flagrantly employing a systematic and willful policy of summary executions against the Palestinian people; such provocative acts are in direct violation of international law and conventions,” she wrote in a statement yesterday. “We call on the international community to engage rapidly and effectively and to hold Israel accountable with punitive measures before it is too late.”
An Israeli military spokeswoman told AFP that the latest attack was “another expression of the incitement (against Israel) on the Palestinian street and on social networks”. Since October, 227 Palestinians, 34 Israelis, two Americans, one Jordanian, one Eritrean and a Sudanese have been killed in ongoing violence, according to an AFP count. Israeli forces say most of the Palestinians killed were carrying out knife, gun or car-ramming attacks. Others were shot dead during protests and clashes. Israel has occupied the West Bank since capturing it in the 1967 Six-Day War.
In the Gaza Strip on Friday, a Palestinian medical official said Israeli troops at the border fence east of Gaza City shot and slightly wounded three Palestinian youths. An army spokeswoman said they had been rioting. The uptick in violence was a reminder of persistent tensions alarming the international community and came as UN chief Ban Ki-moon warned the two-state solution was “further than ever” from becoming reality. Previously there had not been an attack in three weeks. International powers have criticized Israel’s continued settlement expansion in the West Bank and east Jerusalem, with more than 500,000 Israelis now living in outposts that the international community considers illegal, as well as incitement to violence by Palestinian leaders.
“Despite warnings by the international community and the region, leaders on both sides have failed to take the difficult steps needed for peace,” Ban said on Friday. “Let me be absolutely clear: settlements are illegal under international law. The occupation, stifling and oppressive, must end,” he added. Ban also hailed former Israeli president Shimon Peres, the last of Israel’s founding fathers, who suffered a major stroke this week.
The veteran Israeli leader won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1994 along with Yitzhak Rabin and Yasser Arafat for his role in negotiating the Oslo peace accords. The United Nations has been struggling to find a way to restart the Israeli-Palestinian peace process, which has stalled since a US-led diplomatic effort collapsed in April 2014. – AFP