Haroun Abu Aram, 24, was shot Friday, January 1, from point-blank range by an Israeli occupation soldier and sustained severe critical injuries making him a quadriplegic, according to the Palestinian Ministry of Health. The shooting took place in the hamlet of al-Tuwanah which is part of the Masafer Yatta region in the southern occupied West Bank. The Israeli army had demolished Abu Aram’s home in November along with that of his neighbor which was then under construction.
Witnesses told the Palestinian news agency WAFA that one of the deployed Israeli soldiers shot Abu Aram at point-blank range in the neck with live ammunition as the latter attempted to the prevent soldiers from confiscating his power generator, critically injuring him and leaving him paralyzed in all four limbs.
In a video recording of the incident, Palestinians can be seen scuffling with Israeli soldiers in an attempt to take back the generator which had apparently been confiscated by the troops. After the brawl escalated, a gunshot is heard and the camera turns back towards the scene, where Abu Aram is on the ground after apparently having been shot. According to B’Tselem, the dispute over the generator took place during an operation by Israeli forces to prevent illegal Palestinian construction in the area by confiscating construction equipment. Israeli authorities do not recognize many Palestinian settlements in the South Hebron Hills region, and regularly demolish construction they say is illegal.
Hadash condemned the shooting and the head of the Joint List MK Ayman Odeh said Abu Aram “is another victim of the attempt to push the Palestinian villagers in Area C into cities, while [Israel] seizes as much territory as possible there with as few Palestinians as possible.” Odeh said “The only solution is the end of the occupation and an independent Palestinian state alongside the State of Israel.” Hadash MK Aida Touma-Sliman added, “Settlers and soldiers are the two hands of the same oppressive system.” She tweeted “A soldier shot a Palestinian while trying to seize a generator. These crimes won’t end until the occupation does.”
The European Union has called for an investigation into the shooting of Abu Aram: “The EU opposes such excessive and disproportionate use of force and calls on the Israeli authorities to swiftly and fully investigate this serious incident in order to bring the perpetrators to justice,” a statement tweeted on Saturday, January 2, by a European Union delegation to the Palestinians said.
Unrelenting Settler Violence throughout the Occupied West Bank
On the Friday of Abu Aram’s catastrophic wounding, Israeli occupation forces injured another 18 Palestinians while attacking dozens of activists during the weekly protest against the Israeli colonial settlements that regularly takes place in the village of Kafr Qaddum in the northern occupied West Bank. Morad Shtewi, coordinator of the popular resistance in the village, said Israeli soldiers fired rubber-coated bullets and teargas canisters at the protesters, injuring 18 of them and causing numerous cases of gas inhalation. For ten years, since 2011, the village of Kafr Qaddum has been at the center of a national protest campaign against the Israeli settlement activity in the occupied West Bank. Almost daily, clashes erupt there between Palestinian protesters and Israeli occupation forces.
On Saturday, January 2, Jewish settlers uprooted approximately 300 olive saplings belonging to Palestinian farmers in the village of Hares, near the town of Salfit in the occupied West Bank, according to local sources. During the past two weeks settlers have escalated their attacks against Palestinians across the occupied West Bank, taking advantage of the outrageous tolerance of the Israeli occupation authorities towards these attacks.
Israeli settlers hurled a barrage of stones at a Palestinian home in the village of Huwwara south of Nablus in the occupied West Bank on Friday night, January 1. Ghassan Daghlas, an official who monitors settlement activities in the area, said a group of settlers attacked the home of Muataz Qasrawi situated on the outskirts of the village, smashing some of the structure’s windows and causing other damage. Just before this attack, the same group of settlers stoned Palestinian vehicles passing along the Nablus-Ramallah road, adjacent to the village of Huwwara, damaging several vehicles. The same night settlers also attacked vehicles along a main road near the village of Burqa, north of Nablus.
View the video recording the shooting of Haroun Abu Aram: https://www.facebook.com/ofercass/videos/1546036555597193