Tension high in West Bank after two teenage boys killed

The National  /  November 24, 2022

Town of Jenin is again a flashpoint as violence continues to rise.

Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid accused militants in the occupied West Bank of kidnapping an injured Israeli-Druze teenager from a hospital in Jenin, taking him off life support and letting him die.

The alleged killing of Tiran Fero, 17, who was seriously injured in a car crash, comes a day after Israeli soldiers shot and killed Ahmed Shehadeh, 16, in Nablus.

After the incident in Jenin, Israeli soldiers restricted access to the city of about 50,000 people by closing off key roads and setting up checkpoints.

Jenin has re-emerged as a flashpoint in the West Bank this year, with frequent night-time raids by the Israeli army.

Mr Lapid’s allegation, also made by Tiran’s family, comes after a double bombing in Jerusalem wounded 14 Israelis and killed a boy, 16, leading to calls from hardline Israeli politicians for a tough security response in the West Bank.

At least 100 Palestinians and 20 Israelis have been killed this year in West Bank violence, the worst year of the conflict since 2015.

After co-ordination with Palestinian authorities, the Israeli army confirmed on Thursday that Tiran’s body was being returned to his family.

A day earlier, Mr Lapid said Tiran’s father saw him taken by militants who “disconnected a child who was fighting for his life from medical equipment”.

Tiran and his friend were involved in a serious road accident near the town, the Israeli military said.

Warning of further violence

Israeli Druze were warned against storming Jenin, where Tiran was reportedly abducted from hospital, and trying to retrieve his body as thousands protested in his hometown of Daliat al-Carmel.

The town’s mayor implored local youths not to take the law into their own hands.

“Do not reach the Jenin checkpoint or the city of Jenin,” Rafik Halavi said in a video message on social media. “This may complicate the matter and change the equation.”

Two checkpoints leading into Jenin, including the one Tiran passed through, were shut on Wednesday “following a security evaluation”.

Meanwhile, the Palestinian Health Ministry said two Palestinians, of whom Ahmed was one, were killed in clashes with the Israeli army on Tuesday evening in the city of Nablus.

Hisham Abu Kishek, 22, “succumbed to serious injuries after being shot in the abdomen by occupation [Israeli] soldiers”, the ministry said on Wednesday, after earlier confirming the death of the teenager.

The Israeli military said troops fired at “armed suspects” during an operation “to secure the entrance of Israeli civilians to Joseph’s tomb”.

Violence often breaks out between Palestinians and soldiers who accompany Israeli Jews to the holy site, which is believed to be the resting place of the biblical patriarch Joseph and is considered to be an Islamic archaeological monument.

Work permits cancelled

Israel’s response to Wednesday’s attack including stepped-up security measures and overnight raids in the West Bank. The work permits of about 15,500 Palestinians from the Gaza Strip, which allowed them to work in its territory, were cancelled, after a labourer was accused of planning to carry out a bombing, the Shin Bet security agency said on Thursday.

The suspect, arrested on October 30, told interrogators he had been recruited by relatives in a fringe militant group in Gaza to plant a bomb on a bus in southern Israel, the Shin Bet said.

It said the suspect had been indicted in an Israeli court. It was not immediately clear if he had been assigned a lawyer or how he might plead to the charges.

In recent months, Israeli forces have launched often deadly raids in the West Bank after a spate of fatal attacks against Israelis.

With reporting from agencies