The Electronic Intifada / May 12, 2020
An Israeli soldier died on Tuesday after a stone was dropped on his head during a dawn raid in the occupied West Bank town of Yabed, near Jenin.
The soldier was identified by the army as 21-year-old Amit Ben Ygal.
Soldiers from the Golani Brigade were conducting a raid to detain four Palestinians, two suspected of throwing stones and two others suspected of “involvement in a terrorist organization,” according to Tel Aviv daily Haaretz.
Israel considers virtually all Palestinian political parties to be “terrorist” organizations and any resistance to its military occupation to be “terrorism,” and thus a pretext to routinely arrest and harass Palestinians for political activity or protests.
After the military made the arrests, a stone was hurled at the soldier’s head from the roof of a building. He was evacuated by helicopter to Rambam hospital in northern Israel, where he was pronounced dead.
Golani Brigade soldiers have previously incited the murder of Palestinians on social media, boasted of inflicting record numbers of Palestinian civilian casualties and have been involved in perpetrating war crimes in Gaza.
A video circulated by Israeli media is said to show Ben Ygal. A group of soldiers can be seen dancing and chanting, “I am crazy.”
Language of incitement
The right of a people under military occupation to resist their occupiers is recognized under international law, and this right extends to Palestinians.
Notably, United Nations resolution 35/35 of 1980, “reaffirms the legitimacy of the struggle of peoples for independence, territorial integrity, national unity and liberation from colonial and foreign domination and foreign occupation by all available means, including armed struggle.”
Israeli leaders vowed vengeance.
“As with all such incidents in recent years, Israel’s long arm will reach the terrorist and bring him to account,” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu wrote on Twitter.
“The IDF and security forces will get their hands on the degenerate terrorists who are responsible for this, we’ll settle the score,” Naftali Bennett, Israel’s defense minister, stated.
Israeli President Reuven Rivlin used virtually identical language vowing revenge.
“Bringing justice” and “settling scores” after such incidents have typically amounted to extrajudicial executions of accused Palestinians and collective punishment of their families and communities, including arrest campaigns and revenge home demolitions.
Collective punishment is a war crime.
This language is commonly used by Israeli politicians and the public, and amounts to incitement to violence against Palestinians.
More often than not, Israel delivers on its threats.
Israeli forces immediately began carrying out massive raids and arrest campaigns of Palestinians in Yabed.
Israeli forces reportedly used tear gas and stun grenades against Palestinians in the town.
Dozens of Palestinians were arrested and at least four were injured by rubber-coated steel bullets, Haaretz reported.
The soldier’s death comes days after the Israeli military demolished the home of a Palestinian mother as a punitive measure for an act Israel claims was carried out by her son.
Qassam al-Barghouthi is accused of involvement in an explosion that killed an Israeli teen near the Jewish settlement of Dolev, northwest of the occupied West Bank city of Ramallah last August.
Israeli forces subjected al-Barghouthi and three others to physical and psychological torture after their arrest. That included the arrest of family members to exert pressure on the detained men.
In December 2018, Israeli occupation soldiers blew up a home belonging to Latifa Abu Humaid, a widow in her seventies, in al-Amari refugee camp near Ramallah.
Her son, Islam Abu Humaid, is accused of dropping a marble slab from a rooftop during a raid, fatally injuring a soldier earlier that year. He was sentenced to life in prison.
Islam’s brother was assassinated by Israeli forces in 1994 after allegedly killing an Israeli intelligence officer in Ramallah, and other members of his family are languishing in Israeli prisons.
Meanwhile, Israeli occupation forces shot a Palestinian at the Qalandiya checkpoint separating Ramallah from Jerusalem, in the occupied West Bank.
Israeli police claimed he was attempting to carry out a stabbing attack when he was shot and critically injured.
He was identified by local media as Haitham Ibrahim Ahmad Balal.
Local media circulated videos taken shortly after he was shot:
They show the Palestinian lying on the ground, incapacitated but moving.
The footage does not show him receiving first aid.
Despite the fact that no Israeli soldiers were injured during the incident, as in many previous cases in which an alleged Palestinian attacker was shot, the same language of incitement was used by Israeli police spokesperson Micky Rosenfeld to describe the injured Palestinian:
“At the Kalandia security check point, a terrorist attempted to carry out a stabbing attack. Terrorist shot, police at scene.”
Tamara Nassar is an assistant editor at The Electronic Intifada