Israeli forces kill Palestinian ‘after argument’ near Ramallah

Israeli soldiers keep guard at a checkpoint where Ahmed Kahla was shot and killed near Silwad (Mohamad Torokman - Reuters)

Al-Jazeera  /  January 15, 2023

Ahmed Kahla, 45, is the 13th Palestinian to be killed by Israelis in 15 days. Israeli media reports allege that he had a knife when he was killed.

Israeli troops have shot and killed a Palestinian man near the occupied West Bank city of Ramallah, the Palestinian Health Ministry said.

According to the Palestinian news agency WAFA, witnesses said the man was shot on Sunday after he had an argument with Israeli soldiers at a checkpoint near the village of Silwad, north-east of Ramallah.

The man, named by the health ministry as 45-year-old Ahmed Kahla, was reportedly told to get out of his car before being shot.

Israeli media outlets reported that Kahla was allegedly carrying a knife and had attempted to stab the soldiers, but there was no immediate comment from the Israeli military.

The death takes the number of Palestinians killed by Israelis this year to 13.

More than 170 Palestinians were killed in the occupied West Bank and east Jerusalem last year, including Al-Jazeera journalist Shireen Abu Akleh, who was killed while reporting in Jenin in May.

The United Nations called it the deadliest year in the West Bank since 2006.

In March 2021, Israel stepped up raids across the occupied West Bank after a spate of attacks by Palestinians on Israelis that killed 19 people between March and May.

Near-daily raids have led to hundreds of arrests of Palestinians, home demolitions and increased tension, with a new mass Palestinian uprising, or Intifada, a possibility.

That is particularly the case in light of Israel’s new far-right government, which has taken an even harder line on the Palestinians than its predecessor, including plans to withhold tax money from the Palestinian Authority and stop Palestinians from building on 60 percent of the occupied West Bank.

Newly-formed Palestinian armed groups have emerged in the last year, operating independently of traditional groups such as Fatah or Hamas. The Israeli military has been attempting to crack down on the groups in an ongoing operation called “Break the Wave”.

Palestinians see the raids as a further entrenchment of Israel’s open-ended, 55-year occupation of lands they seek for their future independent state.