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Israeli settler kills Palestinian after opening fire on solidarity march in Nablus

12:00 May 18 2017 Huwara

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Photos:
Photo of Mutaz Hussien Hilal Bani Shamsa, 23, who was shot and killed by an Israeli settler. Published by Maan News

Photo of Palestinian journalist Majdi Eshtayya who was injured when an Israeli settler opened live ammunition on a solidarity march for Palestinian hunger strikers. Published by Maan News

Photo from the protest following the killing of Shamsa. Published by Maan News

A wounded Palestinian journalist next to the body of a man killed by an Israeli settler. The Israeli was firing back at stone-throwers Credit: JAAFAR ASHTIYEH/AFP Published by Haaretz

Damage sustained to car of Israeli who shot Palestinian after stone throwing in West Bank. May 18, 2017 Credit: Judea and Samaria Rescue Services. Published by Haaretz

A wounded Palestinian reporter is carried by a medic and civilians in the northern West Bank on May 18, 2017 near the Hawara military checkpoint. Credit: JAAFAR ASHTIYEH/AFP Published by Haaretz
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NABLUS (Ma’an) -- MAY 18, 2017 1:15 P.M. (UPDATED: MAY 18, 2017 8:47 P.M.)

One Palestinian was killed and another was injured after after an Israeli settler stepped out of his car and opened live ammunition on a group of Palestinian protesters near the village of Huwwara in the northern occupied West Bank district of Nablus on Thursday afternoon.

The Palestinian Ministry of Health confirmed that Muataz Hussein Hilal Bani Shamsa, 23, from the Nablus-area village of Beita succumbed to his wounds shortly after he was shot during clashes that broke out after a march that was being held in solidarity with hunger-striking Palestinian prisoners.

The march was being held on the main street near Huwaara, which is shared by local Palestinians and Israeli settlers, residing in the West Bank illegally according to international law.

Witnesses told Ma'an that an Israeli settler opened live ammunition on the crowd of Palestinian protesters, shooting Shamsa in the head and killing him.

Palestinian journalist Majdi Eshtayya, who Israeli news daily Haaretz reported was an AP photographer, was also injured with live ammunition shot by the settler and was transferred to Rafidiya Hospital where medical sources described his injuries as moderate.

Head of the ambulance and emergency department of the Palestinian Red Crescent Ahmad Jibreel confirmed to Ma'an that an Israeli settler stepped out of his vehicle and opened fire at Palestinians "in a random manner," noting that the settler had opened live ammunition on the protesters at the same time that clashes were ongoing with Israeli forces, who were shooting tear gas canisters at the demonstrators.

Jibreel added that the settler had hit a Red Crescent ambulance with his car following the shooting, as the ambulance was on its way to the location where Shamsa was shot. The settler hit three Palestinians during the vehicular incident, Jibreel said, adding that the three had sustained minor injuries from the settler's car.

Israeli authorities also implemented a closure on the Huwwara military checkpoint, located on the same road, according to witnesses.

An Israeli army spokesperson told Ma’an that "a violent riot broke out" in Huwwara and that "hundreds of Palestinians threw rocks at passing vehicles," adding that Israeli forces responded with "riot dispersal means."

"One of the Israeli civilians whose car was damaged from Palestinian rock-throwing fired into the air," the spokesperson said, adding that the army was aware that one Palestinian was killed while another was injured.
According to the spokesperson, the army was not involved in the shooting of Shamsa and Eshtayya. However, she added, "(the shooting) may possibly be from the Israeli (settler), but the incident is under review."

The spokesperson said she was unable to comment on whether the Israeli settler had been detained or reprimanded in any way for opening live fire on the Palestinian crowd.

Shamsa was the 23rd Palestinian to be killed by Israeli forces and settlers since the start of 2017. Seven Israelis were killed by Palestinians during the same time frame.

On Wednesday, an Israeli settler opened fire on a group of Palestinian activists in Ramallah who had closed off a section of a highway to voice their support for the ongoing mass hunger strike, which entered its 32nd day on Thursday. 19-year-old Ibrahim Rasem Hamed was injured during the shooting, and sustained moderate wounds, according to Haaretz.

Following Thursday's deadly shooting at Huwwara, UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process Nickolay Mladenov released a statement, saying he condemned the attack, and that “this deplorable incident must be promptly and thoroughly investigated and all suspected of being involved must be prosecuted.”

Despite Mladenov's call for a swift investigation into the shooting, Palestinian activists and rights groups have long accused Israel of fostering a “culture of impunity” for Israeli settlers and soldiers committing violent acts against Palestinians.

In March, Israeli NGO Yesh Din revealed that Israeli authorities served indictments in only 8.2 percent of cases of Israeli settlers committing anti-Palestinian crimes in the occupied West Bank in the past three years.

Between 500,000 and 600,000 Israelis live in Jewish-only settlements across occupied East Jerusalem and the West Bank in violation of international law, with announcements of settlement expansion earlier this year sparking condemnation from the international community.

According to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), there were a total of 107 reported settler attacks against Palestinians and their properties in the West Bank and occupied East Jerusalem in 2016.
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Settler Hit by Stone Throwers Shoots Palestinian Dead in West Bank

Eyewitness say Palestinians blocked the road, settler pulled out a gun and opened fire ■ Settlers say he first shot in the air ■ AP photographer wounded

Gili Cohen , Jack Khoury and Yotam Berger for Haaretz
May 18, 2017 1:40 PM

A Palestinian man was killed and a photographer was wounded after an Israeli settler opened fire at stone-throwers in the West Bank.

Israeli soldiers were at the scene at the time of the shooting. According to the army, 200 Palestinians were protesting near the village of Hawara, south of Nablus, in support of the hunger-striking security prisoners in Israel. Some of them were throwing stones. The army said the Israeli who shot at the protesters may have been hit by the stones. The army and local settlers claim the man first shot in the air.

An eyewitness told Haaretz that a number of Palestinian youths blocked the road near Hawara. He claimed that a settler who had been driving by pulled out a gun and fired at them.

Israeli forces are at the scene and are using riot dispersal means to break up the protest.

The Palestinian Health Ministry identified the victim as Moataz Hussein Taya, 23, from the village of Bita. They confirmed that one of the wounded was an Associated Press photographer who suffered moderate wounds after being shot in the arm.

A settler regional council in the northern West Bank confirmed the shooter was a settler, a social worker and a father of eight who was running errands. They said that he first fired in the air.

The shooter, a resident of the nearby settlement of Itamar, has filed a complaint with the police.

On Wednesday, an Israeli settler opened fire at Palestinians who were throwing stones at passing Israeli vehicles on the West Bank's main thoroughfare. According to Israel Defense Forces reports, a Palestinian, Rasem Khamed 19, sustained moderate wounds. The shooter in question claimed to have acted in self-defense and was later released.
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Israeli settler who killed Palestinian in Nablus not being investigated as criminal suspect

BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) -- MAY 18, 2017 7:46 P.M. (UPDATED: MAY 18, 2017 7:48 P.M.)

The Israeli settler who shot and killed one Palestinian and injured another on Thursday near the Huwwara village, south of Nablus in the northern occupied West Bank, is not being investigated by Israeli police as a criminal suspect, according to Israeli news daily Haaretz.

Haaretz identified the settler, who shot and killed 23-year-old Muataz Hussein Hilal Bani Shamsa during clashes on a shared Palestinian-Israeli settler road in Huwwara, as a resident of the nearby illegal Itamar settlement.

After the settler shot and killed Shamsa, injured Palestinian journalist Majdi Eshtayya with live ammunition, and injured three other Palestinians when he rammed his car into a Palestinian Red Crescent ambulance, the settler went to Israeli police and filed a complaint against the crowd of Palestinians he opened fire on, claiming they were attempting to “lynch” him.

"An Israeli citizen was brutally attacked by a group of Palestinian assailants who threw rocks at his car and tried to murder him, my inquiries suggest," Israel’s Education Minister and chairman of the extreme right-wing Jewish Home party Naftali Bennett said in response to the incident.

Haaretz quoted Bennett as saying that the settler acted "in order to prevent a lynching, he fired at his attackers and killed one of them,” adding that “rocks kill,” referring to the clashes that were occurring around the settler at the time of the shooting, in which Israeli forces fired tear gas at Palestinian protesters who were throwing rocks.

"If the Israeli citizen, who is a social worker and a father, had not acted as he did, the State of Israel today would have had to look his orphaned children in the eye. Any one of us, as a parent, as a citizen, would have acted" as the settler did, Bennett said.

Witnesses told Ma’an at the time of the incident that clashes erupted after Israeli forces attempted to suppress a protest that was being held in support of Palestinian hunger-striking prisoners.

According to the witnesses, the settler, who drove into the middle of the clashes, stepped out of his car and opened fire indiscriminately on the crowd of Palestinians, shooting Shamsa in the head, killing him.

Head of the ambulance and emergency department of the Palestinian Red Crescent Ahmad Jibreel told Ma’an that following the shooting, the settler had hit a Red Crescent ambulance with his car, as the ambulance was on its way to the location where Shamsa was shot.

The settler hit three Palestinians during the vehicular incident, Jibreel said, adding that the three had sustained minor injuries from the settler's car.

An Israeli police spokesperson was not immediately for comment to confirm reports that the settler was not being investigated for Shamsa’s killing.

Shortly after the shooting, an Israeli settler, under the protection of Israeli soldiers, was filmed distributing candy to passing Israeli vehicles south of Nablus in celebration of Shamsa’s killing.

Between 500,000 and 600,000 Israelis live in Jewish-only settlements across occupied East Jerusalem and the West Bank in violation of international law.

Palestinian activists and rights groups have long accused Israel of fostering a “culture of impunity” for Israeli settlers and soldiers committing violent acts against Palestinians.

According to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), there were a total of 107 reported settler attacks against Palestinians and their properties in the West Bank and occupied East Jerusalem in 2016.

In March, Israeli NGO Yesh Din revealed that Israeli authorities served indictments in only 8.2 percent of cases of Israeli settlers committing anti-Palestinian crimes in the occupied West Bank in the past three years.

Palestinian stone-throwers, in stark contrast, face harsh penalties by Israeli authorities, including 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.
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