Israeli soldiers kill unarmed Palestinian in West Bank

Tensions have recently heightened in the occupied West Bank. (AFP)
Updated 21 March 2019
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Israeli soldiers kill unarmed Palestinian in West Bank

  • Jordan’s king vows to keep protecting holy sites in Jerusalem, calling it ‘red line’ for his country
  • The official said Israeli troops in the adjacent village of Al-Khader fired at a car and wounded the driver the previous night

RAMALLAH, West Bank: The governor of the West Bank city of Bethlehem said on Thursday that Israeli soldiers shot and killed an unarmed Palestinian man who was trying to aid another near the city.

Gov. Kamel Hmeid said Israeli troops in the adjacent village of Al-Khader fired at a car and wounded the driver late on Wednesday night. 

He said Ahmad Manasra was in the car behind and got out of his vehicle to help the wounded man, who was shot in the abdomen. As Manasra was returning to his car, the Israeli soldiers shot and killed him, he said.

“This is a summary execution and Israel bears the full responsivity for this crime,” Hmeid said.

The Israeli military said a soldier stationed at a military post near Bethlehem identified rocks being thrown at Israeli vehicles and in response fired his weapon. The military said it was investigating the incident, which comes amid heightened tensions in the West Bank.

Wabeb Manasrah, a cousin of the slain Palestinian, confirmed the governor’s account. 

He said they were trying to help the wounded man and that his cousin was going to drive his wife and children away when he was gunned down.

“There were no clashes, no stone throwing, nothing at all,” he said. “I don’t know why they shot him.”

On Wednesday, the Israeli military said it shot and killed two Palestinians who had attacked troops in the West Bank city of Nablus. 

This followed the killing of a Palestinian suspected of carrying out a weekend stabbing and shooting attack that left two Israelis dead near a West Bank settlement. 

The military said 19-year-old Omar Abu Leila was fatally shot when he opened fire on soldiers trying to arrest him after an intensive two-day manhunt.

Election campaign

The uptick in West Bank violence comes as Israel is currently in the midst of an election campaign and Egypt is trying to broker a long-term truce between Israel and Gaza’s Hamas rulers.

Since 2015, Palestinians have killed over 50 Israelis in stabbings, shootings and car-ramming attacks in the West Bank. Israeli forces have killed more than 260 Palestinians in that same period. 

Amid fresh Israeli violence, Jordan’s King Abdullah II vowed to keep protecting Islamic and Christian holy sites in Jerusalem, calling it a “red line” for his country.

King Abdullah said, during a visit to the Zarqa governorate outside Amman, that he was under pressure to alter his country’s historic role as custodian of the Jerusalem holy sites but that he would not.

Abdullah said: “I will never change my position toward Jerusalem in my life.” He added that “all my people are with me.”

He did not specify what kind of pressure he was encountering.

A Jordanian-appointed council oversees Muslim holy sites in Jerusalem.

It claims exclusive authority over the Noble Sanctuary, or Temple Mount, compound and says it is not subject to Israeli jurisdiction. Tensions often escalate at the site.


Iran, US tension is a ‘clash of wills’: Guards commander

Updated 23 May 2019
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Iran, US tension is a ‘clash of wills’: Guards commander

  • The commander said they will have a “hard, crushing and obliterating response” for their enemies
  • Tensions between Iran and US escalated after Trump restored sanctions

GENEVA: The standoff between Iran and the United States is a “clash of wills,” a senior commander of Iran’s powerful Revolutionary Guards said on Thursday, suggesting any enemy “adventurism” would meet a crushing response, Fars news agency reported.
Tensions have spiked between the two countries after Washington sent more military forces to the Middle East in a show of force against what US officials say are Iranian threats to its troops and interests in the region.
“The confrontation and face-off of the Islamic Republic of Iran and the malicious government of America is the arena for a clash of wills,” Iran’s armed forces chief of staff Major General Mohammad Baqeri said.
He pointed to a battle during the 1980-88 Iran-Iraq war where Iran was victorious and said the outcome could be a message that Iran will have a “hard, crushing and obliterating response” for any enemy “adventurism.”
On Sunday, US President Donald Trump tweeted: “If Iran wants to fight, that will be the official end of Iran. Never threaten the United States again!“
Trump restored US sanctions on Iran last year and tightened them this month, ordering all countries to halt imports of Iranian oil or face sanctions of their own.
Trump wants Iran to come to the negotiating table to reach a new deal with more curbs on its nuclear and missile programs.
Reiterating Iran’s stance, the spokesman for its Supreme National Security Council said on Thursday that “There will not be any negotiations between Iran and America.”
Keyvan Khosravi was also quoted as saying by the state broadcaster that some officials from several countries have visited Iran recently, “mostly representing the United States.”
He did not elaborate, but the foreign minister of Oman, which in the past helped pave the way for negotiations between Iran and the United States, visited Tehran on Monday.
“Without exception, the message of the power and resistance of the Iranian nation was conveyed to them,” he said.
In Berlin, a German diplomatic source told Reuters that Jens Ploetner, a political director in Germany’s Foreign Ministry, was in Tehran on Thursday for meetings with Iranian officials to try to preserve the 2015 Iran nuclear deal and cool tensions in the region.