West Bank: Israeli forces kill Palestinian teenager while driving car near Nablus

MEE Staff

Middle East Eye  /  July 22, 2023

The Palestinian Authority calls the killing a ‘heinous crime of execution’.

Israeli forces opened fire on a Palestinian-owned car near Nablus in the occupied West Bank late on Friday, killing a teenager inside and arresting his friend after wounding him.

Fawzi Hani Makhalfa, 18, from Sebastia town northwest of Nablus, was pronounced dead just after midnight on Saturday by the Palestinian Health Ministry. 

Makhalfa was driving a car with his friend, identified as Mohammad Mkhaimer, in the passenger seat when Israeli troops fired more than 40 bullets at them, according to the Palestine Red Crescent Society.

Makhalfa was hit with more than one bullet, including one in the head. 

The condition of Mkhaimer, who was detained by Israeli soldiers after being shot, was not immediately clear. 

The Palestinian Authority’s foreign ministry called Makhalfa’s killing a “heinous crime of execution”. 

“The firing of a hail of bullets at the vehicle they were travelling in reflects the magnitude of hatred, aggression, racism and premeditated killing, which makes every Palestinian vehicle suspicious to the occupation soldiers,” the ministry said.

The Israeli army confirmed the killing of Makhalfa by troops in a statement. 

It claimed the car accelerated towards soldiers who returned fire, calling it an “attempted car-ramming attack”.

No Israelis were hurt. 

The Israeli army makes near-identical statements after killing Palestinian civilians in the occupied West Bank, often claiming that soldiers reacted to an attempted attack against them.

Earlier on Friday, the army killed 17-year-old Mohammad Fouad al-Baied during anti-occupation demonstrations in his village of Umm Safa near Ramallah.

The army said Palestinians hurled stones and “life-threatening rocks” at Israeli troops, who then fired at demonstrators.

The Israeli military, which rarely investigates the killing of Palestinians by its troops, has been criticized by rights groups for its “shoot-to-kill” policy even when Palestinians pose no danger to soldiers. 

report in 2022 by the Israeli rights group Yesh Din found that less than one percent of soldiers accused of harming Palestinians between 2017-2021 were ever charged with crimes.

The military law enforcement authorities “systematically avoid investigating and prosecuting soldiers who harm Palestinians”, the group said.

At least 197 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli fire this year, including 34 children – a rate of nearly one fatality per day.

A total of 160 people died in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem, while the remaining 36 were killed in the Gaza Strip. 

Meanwhile, Palestinians have killed 25 Israelis in the same period, including six children.



Israel forces shoot dead Palestinian teen after alleged car-ramming attempt

AFP  /  July 22, 2023

Fawzi Mukhalifa was one of two Palestinian teenagers to be killed by Israeli forces in day of West Bank violence.

Israeli forces shot dead a Palestinian in the occupied West Bank, Palestinian officials said, in what the army described as a “car ramming attempt” near Nablus.

Fawzi Mukhalifa, 18, “was killed by the occupation [Israeli] bullets in the town of Sebastia” late on Friday, the Palestinian health ministry said.

He was the second Palestinian to be killed by Israeli forces in the West Bank within hours.

The army said troops had responded to “a car-ramming attempt” in the northern West Bank town “by firing towards the suspects who were in the vehicle. The driver was neutralized”.

Another “suspect” who had been in Mukhalifa’s car was wounded and arrested, the army said.

The deadly incident came amid rising tensions in the West Bank, which Israel has occupied since the 1967 June War.

The territory has seen a string of attacks by Palestinians on Israeli targets, as well as a surge in violence by Israeli settlers against Palestinian communities.

Earlier on Friday, the Palestinian Health Ministry reported the death of Mohammed al-Bayed, 17, in the city of Ramallah.

Bayed died from injuries sustained by live bullets fired by Israeli forces, it said, while Israeli border police accused him of attacking officers.

The force said in a statement that a “violent disturbance” had broken out “during which suspects threw stones and explosives” at Israeli forces.

“A security guard responded by shooting at a suspect who threw a bomb,” the statement said, adding that “a hit was detected”.

Violence linked to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict this year has killed at least 198 Palestinians, 27 Israelis, one Ukrainian and one Italian, according to an Agence France-Presse tally compiled from official sources from both sides.

They include, on the Palestinian side, combatants and civilians, and on the Israeli side mostly civilians and three members of the Palestinian minority.

The West Bank is home to nearly 3 million Palestinians, as well as about 490,000 Jewish settlers who live in Jewish settlements considered illegal under international law.