RAMALLAH: The Israeli army killed 20-year-old Palestinian man Khalil Al-Anis, shooting him in the head during a military invasion of the city of Nablus at dawn on Thursday.
Clashes erupted as Israeli army forces blew up the house of Palestinian detainee Osama Al-Taweel.
The Palestinian Red Crescent reported that about 337 others — including four children— were injured by Israeli army bullets and gas, two of them seriously, during the confrontations.
The Israeli army also directly targeted a Palestinian ambulance with live bullets and a stun grenade, which shattered the vehicle’s windshield. The paramedics were not injured.
With the death of Al-Anis, the number of Palestinians killed by the Israeli army and settlers since the beginning of this year has risen to 167. The death toll includes 36 from the Gaza Strip who were killed last May.
Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammed Shtayyeh accused Israel of reoccupying the West Bank and violating international and humanitarian law.
He said the occupied Palestinian territories have witnessed frequent incursions by the Israeli army, including into Al-Aqsa Mosque; shoot-to-kill offensives; arrests; and the seizure of lands in favor of settlement expansion.
Nabil Abu Rudeineh, official spokesman for the Palestinian presidency, said Israel’s continued escalation would plunge the region into a spiral of violence and chaos.
He condemned Thursday’s storming of Nablus, the killing of the Al-Anis and the detonation of Al-Taweel’s house, adding that the policy of collective punishment Israel practices — whether by demolishing homes, killing citizens or besieging Jenin and Nablus — is a war crime under international law.
Israel must be punished for these crimes and serious measures must be taken to stop it from committing further ones, he added.
Gen. Akram Rajoub, governor of Jenin, said that Israelis are aiming to re-establish total control over the West Bank, from its people to its land and resources.
He told Arab News that the near-daily Israeli military incursions into Jenin are unjustified, as there was no security threat against Israeli citizens present there.
Maj. Gen. (retired) Adnan Al-Damiri, a former spokesman for the Palestinian security services, told Arab News that Israel considers the West Bank a security threat against its 700,000 soldiers and settlers who are spread throughout the territory.
“Israel’s aim — through its recent unprecedented military escalation in the West Bank — is to pressure President Mahmoud Abbas to sit down with Israeli leaders for negotiations in which the Palestinians will receive services, not political rights,” he said.
Al-Damiri added that Israel had reoccupied the West Bank since 2002, and nothing remains of the Oslo Accords except for the services provided by the Israeli Civil Administration to Palestinians. All political clauses have been canceled, he said.
He also said that Israeli policy in the West Bank “is based on imposing a fait accompli by strengthening settlements and expanding military incursions into Palestinian cities under the justification that Palestinian security services are unable or unwilling to arrest resistance fighters.”
Israelis “only want Palestinian security services to fight their people for the sake of Israel, and this is difficult to accept,” Al-Damiri said, adding: “If the Israeli army stops killing Palestinians, then it will not be called an army, and it will become idle.”
The West Bank is the only front on which Israel can claim that it is achieving victories compared to the fronts in Gaza, Lebanon and Iran, he said.
Palestinians claim that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s coalition government has become hostage to two right-wing ministers — Itamar Ben-Gvir and Bezalel Smotrich.
“Netanyahu is the one who works for Ben-Gvir and Smotrich, not the other way around, and the Palestinian Authority currently only has diplomatic means to confront the dangers of the right-wing Israeli government,” Al-Damiri told Arab News.
In another development, a leading Palestinian insurance company has announced an exceptional insurance policy — the first of its kind — to cover material damages caused by settlers or the army against Palestinian vehicles. The annual policy cost is $140.
The move follows a recent significant increase in attacks by settlers and the Israeli army on Palestinian vehicles while traveling on streets connecting the cities of the West Bank.
Settlers and the army have smashed the windows of dozens of Palestinian vehicles passing through the main streets of the West Bank and burned other cars in the town of Hawara, near Nablus.
Bashar Hussein, general manager of the National Insurance Co., said that the insurance is “compensation against settler attacks and military actions.”
The aim of the service is not to profit, he said, but rather to provide a means to redress the damage and stand by Palestinians.