Thursday, October 21, 2021

In new violence, Palestinians killing and being killed by Israeli forces

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Witnesses describe running gunfights

O.S., a Palestinian woman who is speaking on condition that her last name not be used, was in a car on her way to a hospital in Hebron in late May when the shooting started.

“I saw fire first from a machine gun and then I saw white smoke and three of the people with them,” she said. Her husband, two sons and a friend were among the dead.

“My children were called to the balcony. I called ‘Daddy! Daddy! Don’t forget the children!’ I didn’t want to call that gun to myself because my whole life is about my children,” she said.

In one section of Hebron, known as the Green Line, the same day, two Palestinians lay dead on a street in a city divided by the separation barrier. The killing was followed within a few hours by an ambush of Israeli soldiers, who later died in a firefight.

A few hours later, bullets pocked the windows of a nearby hotel after a car drove up to a soldier who was guarding a checkpoint. It seemed there were about six or seven guns fired at him, a security official said. The soldier was not wounded.

Wednesday, a Palestinian youth was wounded when a Palestinian bus carrying people from the Palestinian high school graduation ceremony was attacked.

According to O.S., the shootings were horrific and shocking. “We don’t like to come out of our house, and when we do, we’re scared. My child doesn’t want to go to school. He’s always looking in the windows.”

In both incidents, the Palestinians were shot when they ran toward Israeli forces, according to eyewitnesses. But some Palestinian officials criticized Israel’s response to the attacks, saying Israeli fire was disproportionate and that the two shootings were no more than an effort to restore order.

The Israeli officials, without elaborating, said that Israel’s use of force was aimed only at the gunman and that the victims were innocent bystanders.

Israel at times has reacted harshly to shootings in Jerusalem by Israeli and Jewish settlers, saying they were a special case because they were shooting at civilian vehicles.

Tel Aviv: Shot dead in the Edessa neighborhood

M., a 21-year-old Palestinian man who said he was shot in the back while driving to school, was shot in the back of the head while driving on a street in Jaffa, Tel Aviv, on the early morning of June 8. The man, who spoke on condition that his last name not be used, said he was wounded by a stray bullet while driving with two friends.

“We were going to the Umm al-Fahm housing project, going to a neighborhood called Edessa,” he said. “When we reached the street there, there was shooting. I was behind the steering wheel and I felt the bullet take my head and then the windshield shattered.”

M., the only person wounded in the gunbattle, said he didn’t know why he was targeted but that there appeared to be a shooting exchange between the two sides of the street. “It’s the responsibility of the Israeli police,” he said.

The U.S. Embassy in Tel Aviv did not respond to a question about the shooting.

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