West Bank under siege, death toll mounts

Two Palestinians were shot and killed during clashes in Ramallah and Nablus June 22, the 10th day of "Operation Brother's Keeper," Israeli forces' massive search effort across the West Bank for three missing Israeli teen-agers. The operation is one of the largest deployments since the Second Intifada, with at least five Palestinians killed in the last week and more than 370 arrested. The Israeli Defense Forces have carried out raids on more than 1,100 sites including homes, offices and universities. Ramallah was briefly occupied, with Israeli forces carrying out a search of the Palmedia company. An IDF spokesman said the search targeted Al-Quds broadcasting company, media wing of Hamas. After the IDF withdrew from Ramallah, Palestinian protesters attacked a local Palestinian Authority police station, in anger at the security forces' coordination with Israeli troops. Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas nonetheless warned: "Israel's continued destructive actions, including shooting innocent Palestinians in cold blood, while Ramadan is around the corner and the situation on the Palestinian street is explosive, can only serve to ignite the West Bank and take things out of control." (Haaretz, JP, June 23; Ma'an, Ma'an, ITAR-TASS, June 22)

  1. Israel to double number of Palestinian detainees

    The Israel Defense Forces plans to issue about 200 new administrative detention orders to Palestinians detained during the operation to find the three missing teens. About 100 of the detention orders have already been signed by IDF officers. (Haaretz, June 23)

  2. Gaza under bombardment again

    Israeli forces discovered the bodies of the missing youths July 1. The next day, tens of thousands of mourners from across the country packed into the cemetery in Modiin in central Israel to pay their last respects at a ceremony attended by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and President Shimon Peres. Israel's leaders vowed to hunt down the Hamas militants it holds responsible for the abduction and murders. 

    The development comes amid a renewed cycle of Israeli air-strikes on the Gaza Strip and Palestinian rocket fire on southern Israel. Four Palestinians were injured in air-strikes on the Strip on July 2. On June 27, an Israeli air raid killed two Palestinians and critically wounded a third. The strike apparently targeted members of the Popular Resistance Committees.

    Israeli's three-week military campaign in the West Bank has now left eight Palestinians dead, more than 130 wounded, and more than 560 detained. (Ma'an, Ma'anAFP, July 1; Ma'an, June 30; Al Jazeera, June 27)
  3. 170 Palestinians injured in East Jerusalem clashes

    Over 170 Palestinians were injured in clashes with Israeli forces in East Jerusalem on July 2—including three with live bullets. At least 35 people were injured by rubber bullets, including six journalists, and three people suffered fractures after being assaulted by Israeli police officers. Police also used tear gas and stun grenades. (Ma'an)

    The family of murdered Palestinian teenager Muhammad Abu Khdeir criticized Israeli police for their inaction in finding the killers of their son. Abu Khdeir, 16, was abducted and killed early July 2 in a suspected act of revenge for the killing of three Israeli youths. His partially burnt body was found by police in a Jerusalem forest.

    Speaking to a Ma'an reporter, Muhammad's father Hussein Abu Khdeir said the family notified police about the incident immediately after it happened but are still waiting for a response. "We notified the police of the incident when it happened, but until now they haven't moved a muscle or arrested the kidnappers, despite their clear appearance in the surveillance cameras," he said. "If things were different and an Arab kidnapped an Israeli, it would have been uncovered in moments."

    Hussein said that following news of the killing he was detained and interrogated for several hours and his wife was forced to take a DNA test. He also said the family was not allowed to see Muhammad's body before it was transferred to conduct an autopsy. He categorically denied rumors that Muhammad was killed in a family dispute. (Ma'an)

    Eight Palestinian supporters in Rome were also hospitalized, two with serious injuries, after after being assaulted by a group of Italian Jews on July 1. When the news of the Israeli teens' deaths was reported that night, the Jewish community held a memorial prayer service in the city's old Ghetto. After the service, participants formed a mob and marched toward the Palestinian Authority office across the Tiber River from the Ghetto. (Ha'aretz via Failed Messiah)

  4. East Jerusalem clashes following funeral of Palestinian teen

    At least 20 Palestinians were reported injured on July 4 in clashes following the funeral of Palestinian teenager Muhammad Abu Khdeir. Grieving Palestinian youths carried the teenager on their shoulders chanting "We have had enough!" as crowds waved Palestinian flags and shouted slogans demanding freedom. Clashes broke out following the funeral procession, with Palestinian youths throwing rocks at Israeli forces.

    Israeli police said "thousands" of officers were on the streets across East Jerusalem ahead of the teenager's funeral in the Shufat neighborhood, which coincided with the first Friday prayers of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan. Just 8,000 Palestinian worshipers joined the prayers at Al-Aqsa mosque, police said, with many staying away for fear of clashes with Israeli forces. On the same day last year police reported a crowd of 80,000. (Ma'an)

  5. Israel Court convicts two minors of murder of Palestinian

    An Israeli court on Nov. 30 found two Israeli minors guilty of murdering and kidnapping Mohammed Abu Khdeir, a Palestinian minor, in 2014 in Jerusalem. The minors, whose names were not mentioned in court proceedings, will face sentencing in January and will be able to appeal their convictions. The minors allege that they were involved in the kidnapping but not the killing of Khdeir. Khedir's murder led to violent riots and intensified violence in the Gaza Strip. (Jurist)