Israeli forces collectively punish a Palestinian town in the West Bank, disregarding international law.
Israeli authorities have besieged Beit Fajjar, a town south of Bethlehem in the West Bank, for six days, along with the 12,000 Palestinians that live there.
Israeli authorities imposed the siege on Thursday. The Governor of Bethlehem, Jibril al-Bakri, and Beit Fajjar residents attest that Israeli forces are collectively punishing the town for the death of two youth last week. Israeli forces’ habit of collectively punishing Palestinian civilians is in blatant violation of international law.
Israeli soldiers killed Ali Thawabta, 19 years old, and Ali Jamal, 21 years old near Ariel settlement last week. Israeli authorities claim the two youth attempted to stab Israeli soldiers and settlers prior to Israeli soldiers shooting them dead. One Israeli soldier was wounded in the alleged attack.
Witnesses attest that both Palestinian youth were shot “dozens” of times. Videos following the shooting show Thawabta and Jamal lying on the ground, fatally injured and motionless, receiving no medical attention, while Israeli soldiers tend to a wounded soldier and a man outside of the frame curses at the two.
Following the death of Thawabta and Jamal, the Israeli military forbid anyone from entering or leaving Beit Fajjar. All of the towns’ essential services, including schools and health clinics, have ceased to function under the siege.
Though Israeli authorities have abolished residents’ mobility, Israeli soldiers move freely about the town: according to local resources, Israeli soldiers have been raiding Beit Fajjar at night, searching houses, and arresting youth.
Last night, Israeli soldiers also raided an industrial area near Khallet Hijja village. Israeli soldiers confiscated materials from the local quarries and prevented Palestinians from working there.
Since the popular uprising started in October 2015, Israeli authorities have killed five youth from Beit Fajjar and 200 Palestinians overall. Around 30 Israelis have been killed by alleged Palestinian attacks over the same period.
Ahmad Jaradat is coordinator of the social movements project at the Alternative Information Center (AIC)