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Palestinian killed by Israeli forces in Hebron, family accuses soldiers of 'executing' their son

Sept. 17, 2016 10:36 A.M. (Updated: Sept. 18, 2016 6:42 P.M.)
BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- Israeli forces Saturday morning shot dead a Palestinian in the Tel Rumeida neighborhood in the Old City of Hebron in the southern occupied West Bank after an alleged stabbing attack, the second Palestinian to be killed in the neighborhood in less than 24 hours, while the family accused Israeli soldiers of "executing" their son on his way to work in Hebron's city center.

Local sources identified the slain Palestinian as 25-year-old Hatim Abd al-Hafeeth Shaludi.

Shaludi was the fifth to be killed by Israeli forces since Thursday evening.

Shaludi's brother Ayman Shaludi told Ma'an that the family lives near al-Rahma Mosque, located just a few meters from Israeli checkpoints that surround the neighborhood of Tel Rumeida, saying that Shaludi was headed to work in the morning like every morning, but when he passed near a checkpoint "Israeli soldiers executed him in cold blood."

He said that his brother worked at a factory in Hebron and was shot walking the only way that residents of the neighborhood are allowed to enter Hebron's city center.

Shaludi's mother told Ma'an she heard gunshots from inside her home. She had left the house at the time, without realizing the gunshots marked the death of her son.

An Israeli army statement had said that Shaludi stabbed a soldier before he was shot dead by Israeli forces. Israeli media reported that the soldier was lightly injured.

A video released later by Israeli newspaper Times of Israel purported to show the moment Shaludi approached a soldier at a checkpoint, presented him with a piece of paper, and lunge at soldiers with a knife. A soldier then chases the man, wrestles him to the ground as he is surrounded by four other soldiers with their weapons drawn.

At the end of the clip the soldiers are seen moving away from the man, who is motionless on the ground.

An Israeli army spokesperson told Ma'an that the video was not released by the army, and she could not confirm the validity of the footage.

Members of Shaludi's family reported that after the incident, Israeli forces had raided their home, searched the premises, and questioned Shaludi's mother before leaving.

An Israeli army spokesperson told Ma’an that a series of "attacks" on Friday and Saturday were “another example of the danger of Palestinian incitement through social media,” adding that the Israeli army was “conducting intensive intelligence and operational efforts to stop the violence.”

However, the spokesperson could not explain to Ma’an how these attacks were connected to “incitement through social media.”

On Friday evening, 15-year-old Muhammad Thalji Kayid Thalji al-Rajabi was also shot and killed in the Tel Rumeida area of Hebron’s Old City after reportedly stabbing and lightly injuring an Israeli soldier.

Less than two hours earlier, Israeli forces shot and killed 18-year-old Fares Moussa Muhammad Khaddour and critically wounded his fiancee Raghad Abdullah Abdullah Khaddour, also 18, at the entrance of the illegal Israeli settlement of Kiryat Arba just outside of Hebron's Old City, after the two allegedly carried out a car ramming attack that left three Israeli civilians injured.

Raghad Khaddour is the sister of Majd Khaddour, who was killed by Israeli forces at the same junction in June after attempting a car ramming attack.

In a statement released Friday, Director of the Hebron district office for Israel's Coordinator of Israeli Government's Activities in the Territories (COGAT) Hariz Safadi said Israeli authorities "plan to impose punishments and security arrangements" on the Hebron-area village of Bani Naim, where the Khaddours were from, and its surrounding areas.

Some 45 minutes prior to the incident at Kiryat Arba, a Jordanian citizen was shot and killed by Israeli forces after allegedly carrying out a stabbing attack outside Damascus Gate in occupied East Jerusalem.

Meanwhile, Muhammad Ahmad Abd al-Fattah al-Sarrahin, 30, was killed on Thursday after succumbing to gunshot wounds sustained earlier in the day when Israeli forces raided the village of Beit Ula in the district of Hebron and opened live fire on al-Sarrahin as soldiers reportedly struggled to detain him.

PLO Executive Committee Member Dr. Hanan Ashrawi strongly condemned the killings Saturday morning, calling Israeli actions “extrajudicial killings.”

“Israel is flagrantly employing a systematic and willful policy of summary executions against the Palestinian people; such provocative acts are in direct violation of international law and conventions,” Ashrawi said.

“Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his right-wing extremist government are creating a culture of violence, intimidation, and lawlessness that is destroying the chances for peace,” Ashrawi continued, adding that the government’s “volatile actions threaten to plunge the entire region into further instability, extremism and chaos.”

According to Ma'an documentation, at least 227 Palestinians have been killed by Israelis and some 32 Israelis have been killed by Palestinians since a wave of unrest first swept across the occupied Palestinian territory and Israel in October.

The Hebron area in particular grew as the epicenter of upheaval, with Israeli authorities severely restricting the movement of Palestinians by declaring the area of Tel Rumeida and other parts of the Old City as a "closed military zone" for several months in November amid dozens of incidents in which more than 40 Palestinians were killed.

The recent incidents marked the highest concentration of Palestinian deaths in recent months since June, when three Palestinians were killed in less than 48 hours after allegedly carrying out attacks which killed two Israelis -- one in Hebron's Old city, another in Kiryat Arba, and one in Israel -- while a fourth died during clashes.

Israel has come under repeated criticism for failing to carry out due process in response to alleged and actual attacks, particularly in regard to the apparent extrajudicial executions of Palestinians who no longer posed a threat when they were killed.

Meanwhile, in recent months, Israel has detained scores of Palestinians for social media activity, routinely alleging that the unrest sparked in October was encouraged largely by "incitement," claiming social media has been used by Palestinians to encourage hatred against Israel and inspiring Palestinians to carry out attacks against Israelis.

Palestinians have instead pointed chiefly to the frustration and despair brought on by Israel's nearly 50-year military occupation of the Palestinian territory and the absence of a political horizon as reasons behind the violence.
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