Palestinian teenager dies after he was shot by Israeli troops in the West Bank last week

AP  /  August 7, 2023

JERUSALEM – A Palestinian teenager who was shot by Israeli troops last week after throwing a firebomb in the occupied West Bank died Monday, the Palestinian Health Ministry said.

It was the latest in a long string of violent incidents involving Israelis and Palestinians in the West Bank in the last year and a half. It came after a bloody weekend in which a settler killed a Palestinian man and a Palestinian gunman killed an Israeli security guard in Tel Aviv.

The Palestinian official news agency WAFA reported that Ramzi Hamed, 17, was shot near the West Bank settlement of Ofra, near his hometown of Silwad north of Ramallah.

Fathi Hamed, the boy’s father, told The Associated Press that his son was shot by Israeli troops early last Wednesday after throwing firebombs at soldiers operating near Silwad.

The Israeli military said “it appears” that Hamed had thrown the firebomb toward the settlement’s front gate. It provided security camera footage of what it said was the incident, in which a young male is seen getting out of a vehicle, throwing a firebomb and speeding away in a car after an explosion. It was not immediately clear how close the explosion was to security forces or when the teen was shot.

Violence has surged across the northern West Bank with the rise of shooting attacks by Palestinian groups against Israelis, near-daily arrest raids by the Israeli military, and growing attacks by extremist Jewish settlers.

On Monday, the Israeli military said troops arrested 17 Palestinians across the West Bank overnight. Israeli media reported that five of those arrested were suspected of involvement in clashes with Israeli settlers on Friday that left one Palestinian dead.

Israeli settlers attacked a Palestinian village in the West Bank on Friday. They set fire to cars and fired on Palestinians who threw stones at them. Two Israeli settlers suspected of killing 19-year-old Palestinian Qusai Matan remained in police custody on Monday.

The surge in fighting is one of the worst between Israelis and Palestinians in recent decades. More than 160 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli fire this year in the West Bank and east Jerusalem, according to a tally by The Associated Press.

Israel says most of those killed have been militants, but stone-throwing youths protesting army raids and innocent bystanders have also been killed.

At least 30 people have been killed in Palestinian attacks against Israelis so far this year.

Israel captured the West Bank in the 1967 Mideast war, along with the Gaza Strip and east Jerusalem. Palestinians seek those territories for their hoped-for independent state.


Palestinian teen shot by Jewish settler dies from wounds

MEE Staff

Middle East Eye  /  August 7, 2023

Ramzi Fathi Hamed, 17, was shot in the stomach and chest while sitting in a car outside an illegal Jewish settlement.

Palestinian youth has died from his wounds days after being reportedly shot by an Israeli settler near Ramallah in the occupied West Bank, the health ministry said on Monday. 

Ramzi Fathi Hamed, 17, was shot on Friday by the settler while sitting in a car near the Ofra illegal settlement in the town of Silwad north of the West Bank, according to Raed Hamed, the mayor of the town. 

Hamed was hit with two bullets, in the chest and stomach, medics said. 

He died of a severe pulmonary attack on Monday morning while being treated in a Ramallah hospital, they added. 

It comes after Israeli settlers shot and killed 19-year-old Palestinian Qusai Jamal Maatan in Burqa, near Ramallah, on Friday. Two others were wounded in the assault. 

Residents told Middle East Eye that armed settlers arrived at Burqa from a nearby settlement outpost and attacked them from three directions.

“They assaulted the residents and torched two vehicles,” said eyewitness Ahmed Barakat. 

During the attack, the Palestinians threw stones to prevent the settlers from advancing further, who in turn fired at them. 

The United States condemned it as a “terror attack” carried out by “Israeli [Jewish] extremist settlers” and urged “full accountability and justice”. 

Itamar Ben Gvir, Israel’s far-right national security minister, praised the settlers suspected of the killing. 

“A Jew who defends himself and others from murder by Palestinians is not a murder suspect, but a hero who will get full backing from me,” he said. 

One of the two suspects is a former MP’s spokesperson for Ben Gvir’s Otzma Yehudit (Jewish Power) party. The pair were arrested by Israeli forces on Saturday and held for further investigations. 

Nearly 700,000 Jewish settlers live in more than 250 Jewish settlements and outposts across the West Bank and East Jerusalem. 

Their presence constitutes a violation of international law, according to Article 49 of the Fourth Geneva Convention.

While Israeli settler violence against Palestinians is common in the West Bank, the recent deaths come as the number of attacks has grown in recent years at an alarming rate, according to UN human rights experts. 

UN figures show settler attacks have been on a year-to-year upward trend since 2016, with 228 attacks recorded in 2022 leading to casualties. 

Since the start of the year, at least nine Palestinians have been killed during settler attacks, compared with five Palestinians killed by suspected settlers in 2022. 

Although the Israeli army said they are investigating the Friday shooting, Israeli authorities have been previously accused of enabling settler violence and failing to prosecute Israeli offenders or protect Palestinians. 

Only three percent of investigations into settler violence led to a conviction between 1995-2022, according to Israeli NGO Yesh Din. 

According to a Middle East Eye tally, at least 208 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli fire this year, including 36 children – a rate of nearly one fatality per day.

A total of 172 people have died in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, making 2023 one of the bloodiest years in the occupied Palestinian territories. Another 36 people were killed in the Gaza Strip.

Meanwhile, Palestinians have killed 26 Israelis in the same period, including six children.