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Israeli settler opens fire at Palestinian youth east of Qalqiliya

Sept. 26, 2016 6:22 P.M. (Updated: Sept. 27, 2016 10:49 A.M.)
BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) -- An Israeli settler reportedly opened fire at a group of Palestinian youth east of the city of Qalqiliya on Monday, with no injuries reported.

According to Israeli media, the Israeli settler responsible for the shooting had claimed that Palestinian youth were throwing rocks at him near the illegal Israeli settlement of Karnei Shomron located just south of the Palestinian village of Kafr Laqif, which he responded to by firing shots into the air.

Israeli military forces reportedly responded to the incident by launching a search for the Palestinians responsible for the rock throwing.

An Israeli army spokesperson told Ma’an they were looking into reports to confirm the incident.

Israel detains hundreds of Palestinians for alleged stone throwing every year, and Israeli rights group B'Tselem reported that from 2005 to 2010, "93 percent of the minors convicted of stone throwing were given a prison sentence, its length ranging from a few days to 20 months."

Palestinian stone throwers face harsh penalties by Israeli authorities, with Israel passing a law last year mandating up to 20 years in prison if charged with throwing stones at vehicles and a minimum prison sentence of three years for throwing a stone at an Israeli.

In addition to long prison sentences, Palestinians accused of stone throwing, or those accused of being affiliated with stone throwers, face arbitrary punishments in the form of road closures and the sealing of entire villages, resulting in serious economic consequences and effects on mobility.

Residents of the Nablus-area village of Beita recently saw the main roads of their villages sealed off for a week, reopened, and closed again, in a move that Israeli authorities claimed was implemented as a result of rocks being thrown in the area at Israeli settlers’ cars.

Despite the allegations against village residents, a bus driver working along the Beita-Nablus road told Ma'an that witnesses and surveillance cameras had caught an Israeli settler stepping out of his car and smashing his own window several days ago near the Huwwara road, reportedly in an attempt to frame Palestinians for throwing rocks.

The closures in Beita have also sparked peaceful protests in recent days.

Meanwhile, Israeli settler attacks on Palestinians in the occupied West Bank seldom result in any actions being taken by Israeli authorities.

According to Yesh Din, over 85 percent of investigations into violence committed by Israeli settlers against Palestinians are closed without indictments, and only 1.9 percent of complaints submitted by Palestinians against Israeli settler attacks result in a conviction.

According to UN documentation, there were a total of 221 reported settler attacks on Palestinians in 2015, with 80 attacks reported since the start of 2016.
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