Two Pales­tini­ans shot in West Bank clashes with Jewish set­tlers

The Washington Post Sunday - - THE WORLD - BY DIAA HA­DID — As­so­ci­ated Press

JERUSALEM — Clashes erupted Satur­day in the West Bank, where Jewish set­tlers shot two Pales­tinian demon­stra­tors in the north­ern vil­lage of Kusra, an Is­raeli mil­i­tary of­fi­cial and Pales­tinian res­i­dents said.

The clashes re­flected mount­ing fric­tion in the West Bank, where Pales­tini­ans have faced off against Is­raeli troops in re­cent weeks in large demon­stra­tions protest­ing Is­rael’s con­trol of the ter­ri­tory in gen­eral and in sup­port of four hunger-strik­ing pris­on­ers in Is­raeli jails.

Also Satur­day, a Pales­tinian pris­oner died in an Is­raeli jail, an event that is likely to in­ten­sify ten­sion in the area.

In the West Bank skir­mish, Helmi Ab­dul-Aziz, 24, was shot in the stom­ach by Jewish set­tlers and 14-year-old Mustafa Hilal was shot in the foot, Pales­tinian demon­stra­tors said.

An Is­raeli mil­i­tary of­fi­cial who spoke on the con­di­tion of anonymity con­firmed that two Pales­tini­ans were shot but said the bul­lets ap­peared to have been fired by Jewish set­tlers be­cause the Is­raeli forces were not us­ing live am­mu­ni­tion. Two Pales­tinian wit­nesses said Is­raeli forces fired tear gas, stun grenades and rub­ber bul­lets at demon­stra­tors but said they did not use live fire.

Vil­lagers said the clashes be­gan when a group of Jewish set­tlers en­croached on their vil­lage lands and fired guns, es­ca­lat­ing af­ter set­tlers chased off a Pales­tinian farmer and his fam­ily.

Is­rael Ra­dio re­ported that set­tlers from Eish Kodesh, an unau- tho­rized Jewish out­post, said the clashes be­gan when Pales­tini­ans en­tered the out­post and be­gan de­stroy­ing their vine­yards.

In an Is­raeli jail Satur­day, Pales­tinian pris­oner Arafat Shal­ish Shahin Jara­dat, who had not been on a hunger strike, died of an ap­par­ent heart at­tack, ac­cord­ing to Is­raeli prison ser­vices spokes­woman Si­van Weiz­man.

Is­rael’s domestic in­tel­li­gence agency, Shin Bet, said Jara­dat, 30, was ar­rested Feb. 18 af­ter res­i­dents in his West Bank vil­lage said he was in­volved in a rock-throw­ing at­tack that in­jured an Is­raeli cit­i­zen. Jara­dat ad­mit­ted to the charge, as well to a sim­i­lar in­ci­dent last year, Shin Bet said.

Is­raeli po­lice have opened an in­ves­ti­ga­tion into the pris­oner’s death, Shin Bet said.

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