Tuesday marked a day of funerals as Palestinians across the West Bank and Gaza mourned six killed by Israeli forces within twenty-four hours. Three were killed in the West Bank in separate instances and three were killed in the Gaza Strip from an air strike. Four others were killed Tuesday afternoon in Gaza during a “work accident” while constructing an explosive according to a statement by Hamas, bringing the total casualty count to ten.
In the West Bank on Monday Israeli border police at the Allenby crossing shot a Jordanian judge during an altercation on a bus. Raed Zeitar, 38, originally from Nablus had been living in Jordan since 2011 and was en route to the West Bank to visit his six-year old daughter who is hospitalized in a coma. In a statement the Israeli army said Zeitar was fired at after he attempted to seize an officer’s weapon:
A short while ago a Palestinian attempted to seize the weapon of a soldier at the Allenby Bridge crossing from Jordan. In response the forces at the scene opened fire towards the suspect. A hit was identified.
However Mohammed Zayd, a witness, told Ma’an News Agency that Zeitar was shot after returning to his feet from when a soldier shoved him to the ground:
[A]n Israeli soldier pushed Zeiter, they started scuffling and Zeiter was brought to the floor. Zeiter then stood up and shoved the soldier, who in turn fired a shot that barely missed Zeiter, Zayd said.
The soldier then proceeded to fire three shots that hit Zeiter in the chest, leaving him dead on the floor, Zayd added, explaining that he tried to resuscitate Zeiter to no avail.
Zayd added that medics arrived almost an hour later, and covered Zeiter’s body, while Israeli police closed the scene and unloaded passengers off the bus and ordered them to the ground in order to search them.
Adding to the Jordan Times Zayd said, “It is not true that he tried to take the soldier’s gun,” continuing, “Passengers were shocked, and started crying and screaming.” After Zeitar’s killing Israeli forces then detonated an explosive on his luggage and held the remaining bus passengers for six hours.
Per a treaty between Israel and Jordan, Jordanian officials will take part in an investigation into the cause of Zeitar’s death.
That evening around 9pm Israeli soldiers shot Saji Darwish, 18, after throwing stones on a road near the settlement of Beit El, which is separated from highway access by a concrete wall. Darwish was a student at Bir Zeit University, studying advertising.
“Someone called me last night at 7 pm and told me Saji from our university was close to Allah,” said Shaheed Bihiss, 25, a classmate of Darwish, “We tried to come here [Beitin, Darwish’s hometown], but Israeli soldiers closed the village.”
On Tuesday a funeral procession was held at Bir Zeit University for the deceased student, with thousands in attendance. After Darwish was eulogized in his village of Beitin, outside of Ramallah.
“I feel like every Palestinian, sad, because this happens everyday and the world does nothing,” said another classmate Mohamed Taha, 24, from Jenin.
The same day Fida’ Mohyeeddeen Majadla, 23, was shot in the chest and head and was reportedly killed instantly by the live-fire at a roadblock south of the northern West Bank city of Tulkarem. Another, Ibrahim Adnan Shokry was also wounded. Israeli authorities then held Majadla’s body.
Hours later on Tuesday morning three members of the armed-wing of the Islamic Jihad movement were killed in an Israeli air strike near Khan Younis in the southern West Bank. Ma’an reported the al-Quds Brigade said in a statement, “Ismail Abu Judah, 23, Shahir Abu Shanab, 24, and Abd al-Shafi Muammar, 33, “were in confrontation with the occupation trying to stop the progress of Israeli military vehicles which were approaching the area.” The Israeli army said the air strike occurred after mortar shells were launched from the Gaza Strip into Israel.
The six killings come just days after Amnesty International published a report on “trigger happy” soldiers using live-fire on unarmed protesters. Israeli Defense Force regulations state live-fire is acceptable in cases of a threat to life, and protocol requires when possible a verbal warning in Arabic and two warning shots before engaging. The deaths come at the tail end of U.S. brokered direct peace talks between Israeli and Palestinian leaders, spurring a eulogy in Beitin during Darwish’s burial decrying the negotiations.
“They said there is not need for their efforts for negotiations because Palestinians go to negotiations and Israelis just kill more Palestinians everyday,” said Darwish’s classmate Mohamed Taha.