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Israel-Palestine war: Violence flares in Jerusalem and the West Bank as funerals become targets

Palestinians in Silwan marching in solidarity with people under bombardment in Gaza come under attack, with two youths slain by Israeli police
An Israeli border policewoman looks on following an incident at a military checkpoint near Beit Jala in the Israeli-occupied West Bank, 11 October (Reuters)
An Israeli border policewoman looks on following an incident at a military checkpoint near Beit Jala in the Israeli-occupied West Bank, 11 October (Reuters)
By Fayha Shalash in Ramallah, occupied Palestine

As Israel wages war on the Gaza Strip in the wake of Saturday’s massive Palestinian attack, violence in the occupied West Bank and Jerusalem is flaring, with 23 Palestinians killed by Israeli forces.

Israel has enforced a complete closure of the West Bank since hundreds of Palestinian fighters poured in from Gaza and killed around 1,200 Israelis.

Cities have been completely cut off from each other, with checkpoints, cement blocks and dirt barriers placed at the entrances to Palestinian communities across the West Bank.

On Tuesday night, the Israeli police announced that they had killed a young Palestinian man and a youth in the neighbourhood of Silwan in occupied East Jerusalem.

Silwan resident Ahmed Jalajel told Middle East Eye that a march took place in Silwan in solidarity with the Gaza Strip, where more than 1,000 Palestinians have been killed, and to denounce the continued attacks by the Israeli army. In response, Israeli soldiers stormed the neighbourhood to suppress the march with live fire and rubber bullets, as well as tear gas and sound bombs.

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The marchers responded by throwing stones and firecrackers. Ali al-Abbasi, a 25-year-old former prisoner, and Abdul Rahman Faraj, 18, were wounded by Israeli fire. The Israelis then prevented ambulance crews or families from approaching them.

“They remained bleeding for hours before the Israeli police informed their families that they had died,” Jalajel said, adding that the Israelis withdrew from Silwan taking the bodies with them.

On Wednesday afternoon, Israeli police stormed a gathering of Palestinians offering their condolences to the families of Abbasi and Faraj.

Repeated killings

In the area around the southern West Bank city of Hebron, 13 young Palestinian men have been killed by Israeli forces since Saturday, according to medics. Three of those were in the town of Beit Ummar, which has witnessed violent confrontations every day since its forced closure.

Ihab al-Alami, a journalist from Beit Ummar, told MEE that Israeli soldiers killed a young man on Saturday, and then later opened fire on mourners at his funeral, killing another. At the second slain man’s funeral, soldiers opened fire once again, killing a third with a bullet to the head.

According to Alami, confrontations in the town are near-constant, saying the soldiers are aggressively provocative, stationed at Beit Ummar’s entrance and harassing residents day and night.

Beit Ummar is closed with an iron gate, and soldiers are present at its entrance around the clock, preventing anyone from entering or leaving.

It is a scene reflected in Palestinian towns across the West Bank, where the lockdown has turned communities into residential islands surrounded by Israeli soldiers. Attempts to leave can lead to arrest, or even violence.

Armed clashes, meanwhile, have been recorded in several areas, including around the Kiryat Arba illegal Jewish settlement east of Hebron, al-Fawar refugee camp in the south, and many Israeli settlements in the north.

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