“We Are The Masters,” Says Israeli Mayor, As 3 More Palestinians Are Killed
By Charlotte Silver
13 October, 2015
Palestinians attempt to break through a section of the separation wall Israel built in the occupied East Jerusalem neighborhood of Abu Dis, 11 October. Yotam Ronen ActiveStills
On Monday, Israeli forces shot dead three Palestinian youths, bringing the total number of Palestinians killed since heightened violence erupted on 1 October across the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip and inside present-day Israel to 27.
More than 1,300 Palestinians have been injured by live ammunition and rubber-coated steel bullets, according to the Palestinian Authority health ministry.
In the same period, four Israelis have been killed and 67 injured.
Palestinians have called for a general strike in the West Bank, Gaza Strip and present-day Israel to protest Israel’s escalating repression.
As violence continues, Palestinian children and teenagers make up a large proportion of the dead and injured.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has ordered the deployment of up to 2,000 paramilitary Border Police reservists in occupied East Jerusalem.
On Monday evening in central Gaza, Israel claimed that about 20 Palestinians broke through a boundary fence near al-Bureij refugee camp, reportedly managing to enter Israel before the army responded with live rounds and tear gas.
In recent days, 9 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli fire across the boundary into Gaza and a pregnant mother and her baby daughter were killed in an air strike.
Mustafa Adel al-Khatib, 18, was shot dead at the entrance to the Old City in Jerusalem.
Israeli police said al-Khatib attempted to stab a Border Police officer, before other officers in the area open-fired on him.
But Palestinian witnesses told Ma’an News Agency al-Khatib had no knife.
Fifteen-year-old Hasan Khalid Manasra was shot by police in the Israeli settlement of Pisgat Zeev in East Jerusalem.
He was with his cousin Ahmad Salih Manasra, 13, who was seriously injured. Israeli police allege that boys stabbed and injured two Israelis, an adult and a 13 year old.
Hasan died immediately, while Ahmad remains in critical condition.
A video reported to be of Ahmad gasping for breath as he bleeds on the ground was uploaded to social media by an Israeli passerby.
Onlookers can be heard shouting insults at the bleeding boy, including, “Die, son of a whore!”
Another person tells the police to “give him one in the head.”
The video has generated shock even among Palestinians regularly exposed to the occupation’s violence.
Wattan TV said that it demonstrated the “ISIS-like and terrorist” mentality of Israeli occupation forces and settlers toward Palestinians.
A third Palestinian was killed Monday night after he allegedly stabbed and lightly injured an Israeli soldier on a bus in Jerusalem and tried to steal his gun. The name of the person was not immediately available.
The same day, a teenage Palestinian girl was shot and wounded in Jerusalem.
A schoolmate interviewed by Shehab News Agency identified the teenage girl as Marah al-Bakri.
Police allege that she had tried to stab a police officer, who was slightly injured.
On Sunday, 13-year-old Ahmad Sharaka was killed by a live bullet in the neck at a protest outside Ramallah in the West Bank, near the Israeli settlement of Beit El.
A video filmed in Hebron shows 65-year old Ziad Abu Khalil confronting Israeli soldiers, shouting that they should be ashamed of themselves for shooting children.
Abu Khalil showed no fear even as the soldiers raised their guns. He spoke for some time before he collapsed on the ground and was rushed to hospital by Palestinian medics.
On Sunday, Palestinian legal rights group Al-Haq published the names of all Palestinians who have been killed since 1 October:
“Shoot to kill”
Yair Lapid, a former Israeli minister and leader of the ostensibly centrist party Yesh Atid has encouraged the Israeli Jewish public to “shoot to kill” when confronted with an alleged attacker.
“Don’t hesitate, even when an incident just starts, shooting to kill is the right thing to do,” Lapid said.
“The directives should specify shooting to kill when anyone pulls out a knife or screwdriver or whatever.” Israel’s Haaretz reported that Lapid “clarified that authorities will give full legal backing to such actions.”
Israeli media report that police arrested dozens of people in present-day Israel and the occupied West Bank, including 33 in overnight raids on Sunday.
Ten people were arrested near Ramallah for alleged involvement with Hamas, while others are being investigated for “terrorist activity, disturbance of the peace, and violence against civilians and security forces,” according to Haaretz.
Police are also cracking down on the Northern Branch of the Islamic Movement in Israel.
Netanyahu has instructed the Shin Bet secret police to work with legal advisors to prepare the case to outlaw the party.
One of the party’s leaders, Yousif Abu Jama, was arrested on suspicion of organizing an “illegal gathering.”
Palestinians have called for a general strike on Tuesday in the occupied West Bank and Gaza and in Palestinian cities inside present-day Israel.
The Higher Follow-Up Committee for Arab Citizens of Israel, a body made up of elected officials from the Palestinian community in present-day Israel, has called the strike.
Palestinian members of Israel’s parliament, the Knesset, have expressed support for it as well.
“In recent days this sense of security was harmed by assaults by Jewish racists against Arabs,” Aida Touma-Sliman, a Palestinian member of the Knesset from Akka, said. “More importantly, however, the police and the prime minister [sic] are calling on citizens to carry weapons, which can pose a real danger to the lives of Arab individuals.”
The Joint List, the grouping of Palestinian legislators in the Knesset, urged broad public participation in rallies protesting Israel’s crackdown on Palestinians.
Adalah, a legal rights group for Palestinian citizens of Israel, has monitored an uptick in “brutal and repressive” tactics adopted by the Israeli police, including arbitrary arrests of minors, “preventive arrests” of activists intended to stifle demonstrations, arrests of activists’ family members and severe physical violence against protesters, particularly in East Jerusalem.
“We are the masters”
Another law to increase the penalty for throwing stones passed its first reading in the Knesset.
Punishments for minors in present-day Israel and occupied East Jerusalem used to be that parents’ benefits would be frozen or the minor would be sentenced to jail time.
Sponsored by Ayelet Shaked, the justice minister who is notorious for her violent anti-Palestinian incitement, the new law would allow both penalties to be issued at once.
On Monday, three minors were arrested in Umm al-Fahim and two more in Jerusalem for allegedly throwing stones.
In attempt to appease demands for tougher “security,” the mayor of the northern Israeli city Kiryat Bialik instructed police to inspect the ID cards of Arab workers at construction sites in the city, Ynet reported.
“We are the masters of this land,” the mayor, Eli Dukorsky, wrote in a directive to city officials.
Charlotte Silver is an independent journalist in San Francisco, formerly based in the West Bank. She tweets @CharESilver.