Pales­tini­ans bury woman killed in West Bank; 7 slain in Gaza

The Citizens' Voice - - NATION / WORLD - BY IMAD ISSEID AND FARES AKRAM

BIDYA, West Bank — Pales­tini­ans on Sat­ur­day buried eight of their dead — a woman killed when a stone hit her in the head while rid­ing in a car in the West Bank, an at­tack blamed on Jewish set­tlers, and seven who were shot by Is­raeli troops dur­ing protests in Gaza the pre­vi­ous day.

It was the lat­est af­ter­math of an­other day of vi­o­lence in the coastal strip. The Is­raeli mil­i­tary said 14,000 Pales­tini­ans had thronged the bor­der fence ar­eas, burn­ing tires and throw­ing rocks, fire­bombs and grenades at sol­diers sta­tioned atop earth mounds on the other side of the bar­rier.

The 48-year-old Pales­tinian woman and mother of eight, Aisha Rabi, was trav­el­ing with her hus­band and two daugh­ters to their home in the vil­lage of Bidya in the north­ern West Bank when she was struck in the head by a stone early on Sat­ur­day.

Her cousin, Isam Rabi, said the fam­ily’s car was pelted with stones. Aisha was rushed to a hos­pi­tal where she was pro­nounced dead. Her hus­band saw a group of set­tlers nearby, Rabi said.

Is­rael said it was in­ves­ti­gat­ing the in­ci­dent and im­posed a gag or­der on the process.

The area is near sev­eral ul­tra­na­tion­al­ist Jewish set­tle­ments. Last Sun­day, a Pales­tinian as­sailant killed two Is­raelis in a nearby set­tle­ment. And on Thurs­day, a Pales­tinian man stabbed and wounded an Is­raeli sol­dier there, rais­ing the pos­si­bil­ity of a re­venge at­tack.

Thou­sands of rel­a­tives and neigh­bors at­tended Aisha’s fu­neral later Sat­ur­day. Her body was wrapped in a Pales­tinian flag as griev­ers car­ried the cof­fin to the ceme­tery.

“With our blood and our spirit we will re­deem the mar­tyr,” shouted the an­gry mourn­ers. Aisha’s brother, Ibrahim Bo­lad, said there was no doubt, “set­tlers threw stones at the car.”

The Is­lamic mil­i­tant group Ha­mas, which rules the Gaza Strip, con­demned her death.

In Gaza, fu­ner­als were held for seven Pales­tini­ans shot dead by Is­raeli troops dur­ing Fri­day’s weekly protest. Is­mail Haniyeh, Ha­mas’ po­lit­i­cal leader, at­tended one of the fu­ner­als, pledg­ing to keep up the protests un­til a decade-long Is­raeli-egyp­tian block­ade is lifted.

Since March, Ha­mas has or­ches­trated near-weekly protests along the se­cu­rity fence di­vid­ing Gaza and Is­rael, press­ing for an end to a sti­fling Is­rael-egyp­tian block­ade im­posed since the mil­i­tant group wrested con­trol of Gaza in 2007.

Is­raeli fire has killed 155 Pales­tini­ans since the protests be­gan. An Is­raeli sol­dier was killed over the same pe­riod.

Of the seven killed on Fri­day, four died in one lo­ca­tion, where the Is­raeli mil­i­tary said it opened fire on a crowd of Pales­tini­ans who had breached the fence and ap­proached an army post. One Pales­tinian was ini­tially wounded and died later in hos­pi­tal. No Is­raeli troops were harmed, the army added.

The army said sev­eral Gazans tried to in­fil­trate into Is­rael again on Sat­ur­day through the fence but re­turned af­ter be­ing warned by the mil­i­tary. One un­armed Pales­tinian was ar­rested and taken in for ques­tion­ing.

In May, about 60 pro­test­ers were killed in a sin­gle day, mak­ing it one of the dead­li­est since a 2014 war be­tween the two sides.

The block­ade has re­stricted Ha­mas’ abil­ity to gov­ern and plagued most of Gaza’s 2 mil­lion res­i­dents. Elec­tric­ity is sup­plied for roughly four hours a day, unem­ploy­ment stands at more than 50 per­cent and tap wa­ter is un­potable.

Re­peated at­tempts to rec­on­cile Ha­mas and the West Bank-based ad­min­is­tra­tion of Pales­tinian Pres­i­dent Mah­moud Ab­bas have all but fal­tered, in­creas­ing the des­per­a­tion that has in large part fu­eled the demon­stra­tions.

Ha­mas seeks a cease-fire with Is­rael se­cur­ing an eas­ing of the block­ade but ac­cuses its ri­vals in the West Bank of thwart­ing the ef­fort. In re­cent weeks, it has stepped up its cam­paign, hold­ing night­time protests and adding new lo­ca­tions, such as along the beach. Ha­mas says the es­ca­la­tion of protests is a re­sponse to the un­re­solved cease-fire talks.

KHALIL HAMRA / AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

Rel­a­tives of Mo­hammed Ab­bas, 21, a Pales­tinian who was killed by Is­raeli troops dur­ing Fri­day’s protest at the Gaza Strip’s bor­der with Is­rael, mourn at the fam­ily home dur­ing his fu­neral in Gaza City on Sat­ur­day.

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