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Issue #1707      October 21, 2015

More Palestinians killed as Obama backs Israel

Five more Palestinians were killed in one day last week as Israel’s crackdown against anti-occupation protests continued. Israeli forces shot dead three Palestinians at protests in the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip, while one Palestinian was summarily executed after he attacked an Israeli soldier with a knife.

Palestinians hold posters depicting US President Barack Obama in an Israeli military uniform.

Shawiq Jabr Obeid, 37, who was critically injured by Israeli fire in Gaza last week, succumbed to his wounds. The latest deaths came as US President Barack Obama offered unqualified support for Israel’s “right to maintain basic law and order and protect its citizens from knife attacks and violence on the streets.”

Obama’s comments at a press conference appear to step back from the timid criticisms offered by the State Department earlier this week over Israel’s use of “excessive force” against Palestinians.

Israel has arrested hundreds of Palestinians and occupied East Jerusalem remains on lockdown. Thirty-seven Palestinians have been killed since October 1 to October 16, and hundreds more have been seriously injured by Israeli forces firing live ammunition at demonstrators.

Seven Israelis have died in recent attacks.

Israel’s apparent policy of extrajudicial executions of Palestinians allegedly involved in knife attacks continues to receive criticism from international human rights organisations.

One victim of the policy encouraging Israelis to shoot first and ask questions later may have been Israa Abed. The 30-year-old Palestinian citizen of Israel was shot six times and severely injured by police at a bus station in Afula, a city in the north of present-day Israel, a week ago.

Abed was a medical researcher at an Israeli hospital and the daughter of a Muslim leader in the Galilee known for his interfaith reconciliation efforts, according to Times of Israel

While officials claimed she was brandishing a knife, video shows she posed no threat: she was shot while her hands were raised. Now, according to Times of Israel, police say they believe she had mental health issues to help explain why Abed would carry a knife but not perpetrate any attack on her bus ride from Nazareth to Afula.

Police drew their guns on Abed after a security guard at the bus terminal allegedly saw her pull a knife out of her purse. Given the threat Palestinians face amid escalating anti-Arab incitement, some may carry knives for self-defence, a possibility not apparently considered by Israeli police.

Yahya Abdulqadir Farahat, 24, was shot in the head while protesting in northern Gaza near the Erez crossing on Friday, Ma’an News Agency reported.

And in central Gaza, Mahmoud Hatim Hmeid, 22, was shot dead while protesting near Shujaiya, an eastern neighbourhood of Gaza City.

More than 100 Palestinians were injured as demonstrations continued along the besieged territory’s boundary with Israel.

The Electronic Intifada

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