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Settler shoots and kills Palestinian during West Bank demo

An AP photographer was also wounded by the settler, during a protest in solidarity with Palestinian prisoners on hunger strike. Eyewitnesses say that an altercation between demonstrators and settlers escalated into stone-throwing by the former, after which the settler drew his gun and opened fire.

A Palestinian demonstrator gestures while lying on the ground during a protest in solidarity with hunger striking Palestinian prisoners, near Huwwara, West Bank, May 18, 2017. (Ahmad al-Bazz/Activestills.org)

A Palestinian demonstrator gestures while lying on the ground during a protest in solidarity with hunger striking Palestinian prisoners, near Huwwara, West Bank, May 18, 2017. (Ahmad al-Bazz/Activestills.org)

An Israeli settler shot and killed a Palestinian near Huwwara in the West Bank on Thursday, during a demonstration in solidarity with an ongoing mass hunger strike by Palestinian prisoners in Israel. The dead man was named by the Palestinian Ministry of Health as Mutaz Hussien Hilal Bani Shamsa, 23, according to Ma’an News Agency.

The settler also shot and moderately wounded Associated Press photographer Majdi Eshtayya.

An IDF statement said that the protest had drawn around 200 Palestinians, some of whom had been throwing stones at passing Israeli vehicles. Photographs published by Walla show what is purportedly the car belonging to the settler in question, with its windshield heavily damaged. Palestinian media reported the demonstration as a peaceful march.

The alleged shooter is a resident of Itamar settlement, near Nablus, who was detained for questioning following the incident. Other settlers on the scene claimed that he had initially fired into the air, while an associate of the man who was with him at the time described the altercations leading up to the shooting as a “lynch attempt” by Palestinians. Ynet, which interviewed the associate, subsequently applied the “lynch” label to a video of the confrontation — which shows a group of Palestinians kicking a civilian car before they’re dispersed by tear gas and shock grenades fired by Israeli soldiers. Walla also labeled the incident a “lynch attempt.”

However, CCTV footage of the lead-up to the shooting, provided to +972 by Rabbis for Human Rights, shows the settler’s car driving toward a crowd of Palestinians blocking the road, who then surround the vehicle. The car stands still for a while, before darting forward and running over several Palestinians. Other demonstrators then start to throw stones at the car.

Ahmad al-Bazz, an Activestills photographer who was on the scene at the time of the incident, described how “demonstrators blocked the road and were approached by a car with settlers in it. The protesters put a flag on the car, pushed and kicked it. The driver continued on his way, and threatened to run over the demonstrators.

“The soldiers who were standing nearby saw this and did nothing. Things escalated and [protesters] started throwing stones at the car,” al-Bazz continued. Another eyewitness said that the settler “hit a few people with his car, demonstrators started throwing stones, and then he drew his gun and opened fire.”

The month-long hunger strike has seen sustained mass protests across the West Bank, which has been accompanied by an uptick in the number of Palestinians shot and wounded or killed by Israeli security forces. On Friday last week, an Israeli sniper shot dead Saba Abu Ubeid, 23, during a hunger strike solidarity demonstration in Nabi Saleh. Ubeid was the 21st Palestinian to be killed by live fire from Israeli security forces since the beginning of 2017.

Settler violence has also increased sharply in recent weeks. Settlers from the radical Baladim outpost attacked left-wing Israeli activists in the Jordan Valley toward the end of April; a day later, Israeli from the Yitzhar settlement — also known for its extremism — attacked Palestinians in Huwwara and Urif. On Tuesday, a Palestinian man was hospitalized after settlers threw stones at him. On Wednesday, an Israeli settler shot and wounded a Palestinian man near Silwad in the northern West Bank, claiming the latter had been throwing stones at him.

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    1. Firentis

      The settler was attacked and he defended himself. Moral of the story: don’t attack people and definitely don’t attack people with guns. You might get shot. And if you do, that is really your fault.

      Reply to Comment
      • Ben

        That settler is an attacker. The settlers and the army attack the Palestinians every day, day in day out. As a matter of routine. As a way of life. You, Fritzl-like, don’t want to look behind that door. But are complicit in these assaults by refusing to stop them. And only want the accounting to run one way. This is what colonial occupiers do and this is how they think. You are not different. Only cloaked in that peculiar Israeli self-righteousness about it.

        “My modest mission is to prevent a situation in which many Israelis will be able to say, ‘We didn’t know.’” And for that, many people want him silenced. The story of Gideon Levy – and the attempt to deride, suppress or deny his words – is the story of Israel distilled. “I am amazed again and again at how little Israelis know of what’s going on fifteen minutes away from their homes,” he says. “The brainwashing machinery is so efficient that trying [to undo it is] almost like trying to turn an omelette back to an egg. It makes people so full of ignorance and cruelty.”’

        Reply to Comment
        • Saramango

          The “attacker” in Ben’s magical world is the guy was sitting in his car surrounded by people trying to kill him while an *ambulance* was blocking his way out. For people like Ben the only legitimate course of action for this guy to take is to get lynched.

          This is an excellent analogy for how Israel is seen among the delusional left in general where the only legitimate path forward for Israel is to commit suicide.

          Reply to Comment
          • Ben

            That’s not what I said. Yours is a cult-like response, a routine attempt to deride, suppress, deny, to see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil. This is why outside pressure is the only way at this point. it’s like dealing with Brand Davidians at Waco. Israelis at this point effectively constitute a brainwashed cult. I feel they have effectively forfeited the right to solve the problem they refuse to solve.

            Reply to Comment
          • Deborah

            A young man is dead and all some commentators can do is incite for more dead Palestinian youth. Amazing.

            Reply to Comment
          • Firentis

            The Branch Davidians were massacred at Waco. For Ben that is the way to deal with Israel.

            Reply to Comment
        • i_like_ike52

          Your assertion that supposedly everyone knows that settlers attack innocent Palestinian days needs to have some proof presented. In fact, Arabs attacks Jews all the time in Judea/Samaria and yes, Jews will defend themselves. It is incidents like this that are reproted as “settlers attack Palestinians day in and day out”.

          Now, are you really simply trying to portray the Palestinians are victims? The violence comes from them. Is what you are REALLY trying to say is that Arab violence against Jews in Judea/Samaria, or the rest of Israel for that matter, JUSTIFIED in your eyes? If so , why not come out and say so openly?

          Reply to Comment
    2. Itshak Gordin Halevy

      The members of the Arab minority must understand that they should not block the roads and attack the cars.

      Reply to Comment
    3. brightdarkness

      I read that the drive of the ambulance was arrested and his ambulance confiscated. Him jumping the divider to block the car from escaping was not a good thing.

      Reply to Comment
    4. Laura

      Just like whites in the US South, settlers have free reign to do whatever they want, with no legal repercussions. Must be nice. These examples of human filth will have their day.

      Reply to Comment