Israeli settler shoots Palestinian youth dead in West Bank

Israeli settler shoots Palestinian youth dead in West Bank
An Israeli settler shot dead a Palestinian youth on Wednesday, after allegedly hitching a ride in his truck in the West Bank.
3 min read
03 April, 2019
The Hawara checkpoint near Nablus is a flash point for violence [Getty]
A Palestinian youth was killed and another wounded on Wednesday morning when an Israeli settler opened fire on them at the Haware checkpoint, near Nablus, in the northern West Bank, the Palestinian Ministry of Health has confirmed.

The young man has been named in the Palestinian press as Muhammad Abdelfattah, from the nearby town of Salfit. 

The former mayor of neighbouring village Beita, Othman Dwikat, told The New Arab that one of the young men hitched a ride in the settler’s truck, and after he got dropped off, the settler “opened fire for no reason, injuring the young man and another passerby”.

The director of the Palestinian Red Crescent in Nablus, Ahmed Jibril told The New Arab that ambulance crews were prevented from reaching the injured men by Israeli forces. 

According to Palestinian news agency Ma’an, Abdelfattah was taken to Beilinson Hospital in Petah Tikva, east of Tel Aviv, where he was pronounced dead.

The settler has been identified as Joshua Sherman, a resident of the Elon Moreh settlement, northeast of the Nablus. Other Palestinian news reports said Sherman blocked the road with his truck, preventing Abdelfattah from crossing, before opening fire on him.

Israeli news outlets have however reported a conflicting turn of events, claiming Abdelfattah attempted to carry out a stabbing attack on Sherman and his daughter.

Sherman is an organiser for Israel’s New Right party, set up by justice minister Ayelet Shaked and education minister Naftali Bennett, and considered on the far-right of the political spectrum.

Shaked is widely considered a racist after calling for the genocide of Palestinians in a now-deleted Facebook post and has called for Palestinian mothers be killed as she deemed them responsible for raising "little snakes".

The wounded passerby was treated in Rafidiya hospital in Nablus. He has been named by Ma’an as 22-year-old Khaled Ruwayja.

The leader of the local settler council has used the incident to call for urgent completion of a settler-only motorway that bypasses the Hawara checkpoint.

The news comes alongside the raid and arrest of several other young men in villages across the West Bank, a nightly occurrence in the occupied territories.

The northern West Bank has a high concentration of hardline Israeli settlements, which gives rise to frequent tensions and violent attacks.

Ramallah and most of the international community view Israeli settlements as a key obstacle to peace, with Palestinians acutely concerned by ongoing Israeli land grabs.

Elon Moreh is built on land seized from the neighbouring Palestinian villages of Azmut and Deir al-Hatab.

The UN reported over 220 incidents of settlers’ assault or damage to Palestinian property in 2018. Intimidation and physical assault are also routine, with Israelis permitted to carry rifles, while their Palestinian neighbours may not carry arms to defend themselves.

Settlers can act with almost guaranteed impunity, with over 90 percent of complaints filed by Palestinians regarding settler violence are closed by Israeli authorities without an indictment.