BY DAILY SABAH WITH AGENCIES
ISTANBUL DEC 04, 2022 –
Top European Union diplomat Josep Borrell has condemned the point-blank shooting of a young Palestinian by an Israeli soldier in the occupied West Bank.
The condemnation comes as the deadly incident from earlier Friday sparked widespread anger and a call for an investigation.
Palestinian activists shared a video on social media of an Israeli soldier while scuffling with a young man in Huwara town, south of Nablus city.
As the young man, who was identified as Ammar Mefleh, tried to escape, the Israeli soldier shot him at point blank, leaving him badly injured. The Palestinian was later pronounced dead.
“The killing of a 22-year-old Palestinian on Friday by Israeli security forces was the latest example of the recent uptick in violence,” Borrell said in a statement.
Later in the day, the EU condemned Israel’s use of lethal force against Palestinians in the West Bank, citing that 10 Palestinians were killed by Israeli forces in just 72 hours.
The EU said that 2022 was the “deadliest year since 2006, with 140 Palestinians killed” by Israeli forces in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem.
Borrell called for an investigation into the incidents that took place in the West Bank.
Calls for investigation
“Those responsible must be held fully accountable,” he added.
The Turkish Foreign Ministry on Saturday also strongly condemned the “summary executions” and the recent escalation of violence and civilian casualties in the occupied West Bank, including East Jerusalem.
“We call on the Israeli authorities to take the necessary measures to prevent further escalation of tension and loss of lives in the region,” read a statement by the ministry.
“We wish Allah’s mercy upon our Palestinian brothers and sisters who lost their lives in the incidents and extend our condolences to the State of Palestine and its people,” it added.
Israeli police, on the other hand, said the Palestinian in question was armed with a knife. He had allegedly first tried to enter the vehicle of an Israeli couple. He was then shot by the driver, an army officer on leave. He then reportedly inflicted a deep cut on the temple of a nearby police officer.
Another police officer tried to arrest the attacker. A video shows a fight between the two, with two other men involved as well.
According to Israeli police, the Palestinian allegedly tried to snatch the rifle from the police officer. The gun can be seen falling to the ground. The officer then pulls out a handgun and shoots the Palestinian. He feared for his life and the lives of others in the vicinity, the officer said.
The Palestinian news agency WAFA reported that the Palestinian was hit by four bullets. Israeli soldiers had prevented Palestinian ambulances from reaching the scene, it wrote.
U.N. special envoy Tor Wennesland wrote in a tweet that he was “horrified” by the killing of the Palestinian. “Such incidents must be fully & promptly investigated, & those responsible held accountable.”
But an Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesperson criticized Wennesland’s comment, saying they distorted the facts.
Pro-Israeli Twitter users also defended the police officer’s actions, calling them legitimate self-defense.
The situation in the occupied West Bank has been tense for months. Following a series of attacks on Israelis that began in March, the army has been carrying out more raids there.
According to the Palestinian Health Ministry, 159 Palestinians have been killed this year in connection with military operations, in clashes, or in attacks of their own. In Israel and the West Bank, 31 civilians and security forces have been killed in attacks this year.