Israeli forces kill two Palestinians during West Bank home demolitions
Israeli troops killed two Palestinians and wounded three more in the occupied West Bank on Monday, the Palestinian health ministry said.
Mohammed Samar Khoshiyeh, 22, and Fouad Mohammed Abed, 17, were shot dead after Israeli forces raided the village of Kafr Dan, west of Jenin, to carry out a home demolition.
Palestinians confronted the Israeli troops as they stormed the village on Sunday night, with exchanges of fire continuing into Monday.
It was not immediately clear if Khoshiyeh and Abed were involved in the fire exchanges or if they were unarmed when they were killed.
Palestinian factions mourned their deaths and refered to them as "fighters". Hamas said Abed was one of the group's armed members and Fatah's al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades claimed Khoshiyeh as one of its members.
The Israeli army came to demolish the homes of two Palestinians who were killed in a shootout several months ago, which also resulted in the death of an Israeli soldier.
Videos posted online show the moment Israeli forces used explosives to blow up the homes they had come to demolish.
The Israeli policy of demolishing Palestinian assailants' homes is condemned as a form of "collective punishment" inflicted on the suspects' families.
According to data compiled by Middle East Eye, Israeli forces killed more Palestinians in the occupied West Bank in 2022 than in a single calendar year since the Second Intifada.
At least 220 people have died in Israeli attacks across the occupied territories, including 48 children. Of the total death toll, 167 were from the West Bank and East Jerusalem, and 53 were from the Gaza Strip.
An additional five Palestinian citizens of Israel have been killed in the same period. Meanwhile, Palestinians have killed at least 29 Israelis, including one child, the highest death toll since 2008.
The renewed Israeli violence comes as the military increases operations in the West Bank and Palestinian armed resistance makes a resurgence.
Israeli settlers are suspected of being behind the deaths of at least five Palestinians last year, but the military is responsible for the overwhelming majority of deaths.
According to UN data, nearly 9,500 Palestinians from the West Bank were wounded last year.
The death toll of 2022 makes it the most violent year in the West Bank since 2005, the year many consider the end of the Second Intifada.
Back then, Palestinian armed resistance in the West Bank was stifled under the leadership of the Palestine Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas.
However, the PA's security control of certain areas in the West Bank has been challenged in 2022 with the emergence of two semi-organised armed groups, the Jenin Battalion and the Lions' Den in Nablus.
The increase in violence by Israeli forces has raised concern internationally.
Last month, UN experts condemned Israel for the record violence and warned that 2023 could witness a higher number of casualties.
"Unless Israeli forces abandon this dominant settler mindset and rightfully treat Palestinians in the occupied territory as protected persons, Israel's deplorable record in the occupied West Bank will likely deteriorate further in 2023," they said.
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