Palestinian mourners shot by Israeli forces at Bethlehem funeral

Palestinian mourners shot by Israeli forces at Bethlehem funeral
Three Palestinian funeral-goers in Bethlehem have been fired on by Israeli soldiers today during the funeral of a teenage boy shot dead by Israeli forces on Monday.
5 min read
06 October, 2015

Clashes continued between Palestinian protesters and Israeli security continued on Tuesday with dozens reportedly injured from gun fire and rubbet bullets in the occupied West Bank.

Violence broke out during the funeral of 13-year-old Abed al-Rahman Obeidallah in Bethlehem who was shot dead on Monday by Israeli forces along with another teenager.

They were suspected of throwing stones at Israeli troops.

Hundreds turned up for the teenager's funeral on Tuesday only for more bloody scenes to emerge.

Israeli forces reportedly fired live rounds at the angry crowd, injuring three funeral goers.

Two mourners were shot in the head with bullets, Maan news agency reported.

Israeli settlers attacked a house south of Hebron on Tuesday, injuring a 10-year-old boy, the Palestinian agency also reported.

The head of the local hospital reported that the boy received injuries to his head. 

Elsewhere in the West Bank, settlers pelted Palestinian cars with stones. Prime Minister Rami Handallah's convoy was also attacked, the Palestinian news agency reported.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has called for calm, and said he has no interest in seeing violence "esculations".

Meanwhile, Israeli forces destroyed the homes of two Palestinians and sealed off part of a third in Jerusalem on Tuesday, in a new crackdown launched by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Violence has intensified in East Jerusalem and the occupied West Bank in recent weeks, raising concerns of a wider escalation, though it has not yet reached the level of past Israeli-Palestinian confrontations.  

Netanyahu warned Monday that he will use a "strong hand" to crush Palestinian protests and attacks, signalling that the current round of violence is bound to escalate at a time when a political solution to the conflict is increasingly distant.

Netanyahu said he has sent thousands more soldiers and police to the West Bank and Palestinian neighborhoods of Jerusalem and that "we are allowing our forces to take strong action against those who throw rocks and firebombs".

He said restrictions limiting what security forces can do were being lifted, but did not elaborate.

Germany has warned that a new Palestinian uprising - or intifada - may be brewing.

Homes destroyed

The homes destroyed were of Ghassan Abu Jamal and Mohammed Jaabis, a military statement said. They were placed under demolition orders after the men attacked Israelis last year. 

Armed with meat cleavers and a pistol, Abu Jamal and his cousin Uday Abu Jamal killed four rabbis and a policeman before being shot dead in November 2014. 

Jaabis rammed an earthmover into a bus in August 2014, killing an Israeli and wounding several others. He was shot dead by police at the scene.

An AFP journalist saw the gutted inside of a house in East Jerusalem that witnesses said was the former residence of Abu Jamal. 

Yasser Abdu, 40, a neighbour and friend of the Abu Jamals, accused Israel of a "policy of collective punishment".

The demolition explosion, which took place before dawn, blew out the interior of the structure but the supporting pillars remained intact, an AFP journalist said.

The blast damaged other apartments in the building as well as surrounding structures.

Eyewitnesses said police and other authorities arrived yesterday at midnight, locking down the area before drilling and planting the explosives.

A room was also sealed off at the former home of Muataz Hijazi, who in October 2014 tried to gun down a right-wing Jewish activist, critically wounding him. Hijazi was shot dead the next morning during a police raid.


The demolitions had been challenged in Israel's top court which ultimately approved them months ago.

The court also approved sealing the room but not demolishing the structure, since Hijazi's attack "did not ultimately result in the loss of human life."

Netanyahu's warnings came after a rash of violence that began Thursday when Palestinian gunmen killed an Israeli couple in their car near a settlement in the West Bank as their four children watched.

Two days later, a Palestinian stabbed an Israeli man to death and seriously wounded his wife as they walked in Jerusalem's Old City, then attacked and killed another Israeli man.

In all, eight Palestinians were wounded by live fire and 45 by rubber-coated steel pellets in the West Bank and Jerusalem on Monday, the Red Crescent said.

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The spike in attacks and clashes comes at a time of mounting Palestinian frustration.

After years of diplomatic paralysis, many have lost hope in the chance of setting up a state.

Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas has not offered an alternative to failed negotiations, except to urge the international community to intervene, so far to little avail.

President Barack Obama made no mention of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in his speech to the UN General Assembly last week, an omission noted by the Palestinians.

Netanyahu has repeatedly accused Abbas of inciting the violence and of having no interest in negotiating a peace deal.

Abbas has countered that Netanyahu is acting in bad faith by promoting continued settlement expansion on territory Palestinians claim for their future state.

There have been several days of clashes at Jerusalem's holy sites over the past few weeks as Palestinians barricaded themselves inside the al-Aqsa mosque while hurling stones, firebombs and fireworks at police.

The unrest later spread to Arab neighborhoods of east Jerusalem and to the West Bank.

Netanyahu convened his Security Cabinet, a group of key ministers, at the end of a two-day Jewish holiday Monday evening.

"We are acting with a strong hand against terrorism and against inciters," he said before the meeting. "We are operating on all fronts. We have brought an additional four ... battalions into Judea and Samaria (the West Bank), and thousands of police into Jerusalem."

Despite Netanyahu's warning about a lifting of restrictions on security forces, an Israeli army spokesman, Lt. Maj. Peter Lerner, said there was no change in troops' open fire-rules.