A Palestinian man was killed in the north of the West Bank by an armed settler. Palestinian witnesses say he was working on his land. The Israeli army claims the settler fired back when Palestinians began throwing stones. Later the same evening, a 19-year-old Israeli soldier was stabbed to death.
Jerusalem (AsiaNews/Agencies) – Violence is back in Israel and Palestine after two murders took place a few hours apart, yesterday.
The first victim was a Palestinian from the Occupied Territories, who was killed by an armed Jewish settler; the second was a young Israeli soldier, stabbed in the evening.
Mahmoud Ahmad Zaal Odeh, 48, was a farmer from the village of Qusra, south of Nablus, in the northern part of the West Bank.
According to local sources, Odeh was working on his land when a group of Jewish settlers trespassed on it. When he tried to stop them, a settler opened fire, hitting him on the chest. A second Palestinian man, 47, was also wounded to the leg.
Shortly after the incident, Israeli forces detained Odeh’s son and took him to the nearby Huwwara military base, and took away Odeh’s body, which they have not yet returned to his family. They also surrounded the village to prevent reprisals.
At the same time, an Israeli army spokesperson gave a completely different account of the events, saying that one settler fired when Palestinians began throwing stones at the group of travelling settlers.
The army spokesperson did not specify if the latter were on foot, or why they were on the farmland in the first place.
An upwards of some 600,000 Israeli settlers live in the West Bank in settlements that violate international law. They are one of the main causes of tensions between Israelis and Palestinians, and the failure of peace talks. Despite this, Israel continues to build them.
A few hours after the Palestinian's death, a young Israeli soldier, Ron Isaac Kokia, was also killed, stabbed to death. The 19-year-old was waiting for a bus in Arad, in the south of the country.
The attacker fled the scene and has not yet been identified. Israeli investigators suspect a terror attack.
Since October 2015, 255 Arabs, 50 Israelis and some foreigners have died in a series of incidents in Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories dubbed the ‘knife intifada’.