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Israeli bus rams into Palestinians, kills one in West Bank

Two other Palestinians were injured after being run over by the Israeli bus
Israeli police officers speak to a bus driver at a checkpoint at the Arab city of Qalansuwa on 5 July, 2014 (AFP)

A Palestinian youth was killed Tuesday after being run over by an Israeli bus near the West Bank town of Barta'a, eyewitnesses have said.

Noor Hassan – a 21-year-old from Nablus – died and two others were injured when an Israeli bus rammed into them, an eyewitness said.

"Hassan and other two people were rushed to an Israeli hospital, where Hassan was pronounced dead," the witness told The Anadolu Agency.

A police source said that three Palestinians had been injured in a vehicular accident near Barta'a checkpoint.

The source said that an investigation has been launched into the incident, without stating that Hassan had died.

Tension has run high in the West Bank and East Jerusalem in recent months following Israel's 51-day military onslaught on the Gaza Strip, in which over 2,160 Palestinians were killed.

Also, increasingly frequent intrusions by Jewish settlers and Israeli officials into East Jerusalem's flashpoint Al-Aqsa Mosque compound have angered Palestinians and often led to clashes.

Tension mounted further on October 30, when Israel briefly closed the Al-Aqsa Mosque complex after an extremist rabbi was shot by a Palestinian man in West Jerusalem.

Since then, 11 Israelis, including two security personnel, have been killed – and several others injured – in a spate of attacks by Palestinians both inside Israel and in the occupied territories.

'Fascist' bill

Meanwhile, Arab member of the Israeli Knesset Hanin Zoabi on Tuesday lambasted proposed legislation that would allow the dismissal of assembly members who voice support for armed resistance against Israel.

"This bill is a blow to the freedom of political representation for voters who wish to challenge the restrictions on political work imposed by the Zionist [parliamentary bloc] or the government," Zoabi told The Anadolu Agency.

Zoabi is considered the main target of the bill, which was proposed earlier this week by right-wing MP David Rotem.

Earlier Tuesday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu voiced initial support for the bill, which aims to strip lawmakers of their Knesset seats if they show any support for armed action against Israel.

"This bill is not only aimed at [silencing] me, even though it was drafted based on my previous statements," Zoabi said. "Any law that conflicts with the essence of free political expression is fascist."

Netanyahu has ordered that an absolute majority – 60+1 Knesset members – be required for the bill to pass, Israeli public radio reported.

Twenty-seven Israeli MPs, mostly from the right wing, have so far expressed support for the bill.

Israel's 120-member Knesset currently includes 11 Arab representatives.

'New Palestinian intifada'?

Meanwhile, British parliamentarian George Galloway – known for his staunch advocacy of the Palestinian cause – said Tuesday that a new Palestinian intifada ("uprising") was now underway in the Israeli-occupied West Bank.

Galloway warned that a new intifada had begun that was much more complicated than the two previous ones, because the Ramallah-based Palestinian Authority (PA) was working hard to contain it.

"The Palestinians in Gaza and Jerusalem are free," Galloway told The Anadolu Agency.

Even Palestinians within the so-called 1948 borders are increasingly returning to the political battlefield, Galloway added, asserting that PA President Mahmoud Abbas would be unable to contain mounting popular anger in areas under PA control.