Palestinian Knesset member 'shot in head' at anti-demolitions protest

Palestinian Knesset member 'shot in head' at anti-demolitions protest
After a Palestinian man and an Israeli police officer were killed in clashes over demolitions in a Bedouin village in the Negev village Wednesday tensions show no sign of abating
3 min read
19 January, 2017
MK Ayman Odeh says his wounds were inflicted by sponge-tipped bullets [Twitter]
Ayman Odeh, a Palestinian MK, was shot by Israeli forces in clashes in the Negev village on Wednesday, he has claimed.

Images distributed on the internet on Wednesday showed Odeh, looking disoriented with blood streaming from a wound on his left temple.

Odeh says the injury was caused by black sponge-tipped bullets – the use of which against Palestinian demonstrators by Israeli forces has been previously documented.

However, Israeli police say that Odeh was hit by a rock thrown by fellow demonstrators.

According to the +972 blog – which focuses on Israeli-Palestinian issues – physicians at the Soroko Medical Center where Odeh was treated said they were unable to determine whether his injuries had been caused by a sponge-tipped bullet or a stone.

No Knesset member has been shot by Israeli security forces since 2006, noted +972, when two right-wing Israeli lawmakers were wounded by border police during the evacuation of the controversial Amona settlement.

Tensions between Palestinians and the Israeli state following the deaths of a Palestinian man and an Israeli police officer during clashes in the Bedouin village of Umm al-Hiran in the Negev desert continued on Thursday, with Palestinian authorities calling for a nationwide strike and three days of mourning. 

Protestors have been angered by Israeli claims that Yacoub Abou al-Qian, who locals identified as a teacher, was shot dead by Israeli security forces after he drove his car at police in the Bedouin village, killing one officer in the process.

They claim that al-Qi'an was driving to the protests to express his objection to demolitions taking place in the area, and that after being shot dead his vehicle inadvertently ploughed into the Israeli security personnel resulting in his death.

Protests spread across Palestinian communities in Israel following news of al-Qi'an’s death on Wednesday.

A total of eight houses were demolished in Umm al-Hiran on Wednesday.

MPs from the Joint Arab List political alliance met with the European Ambassador to Israel Lars Faaborg-Anderson on Thursday morning to report the incident, amid concerns of growing tensions in Israeli-Palestinian relations.

Only last week Palestinians in Israel announced a previous one-day strike after Israeli authorities destroyed 11 Palestinian homes in the town of Qalansawe. A total of 500,000 people from the estimated 1.5 million Palestinian citizens in Israel took part in that strike.

Israeli authorities routinely carry out demolitions of Bedouin homes deemed to have been built illegally.

However, Palestinian residents and activists argue that obtaining building permits is nearly impossible, claiming that the Israeli state gives preference to the construction of housing allotments for Jewish Israelis.

More than 5,000 Arab homes in Israel have been demolished in the last 20 years while Palestinians control only 2.3 percent of land in the state.

Translation: Israeli bulldozers demolish Palestinian homes in Umm al-Hiran, in Naqab, Palestine.