Soldier firing tear gas near Nablus on Saturday
Photo: AFP
X-ray of Osayad Qadus' skull
Photo: Salma a-Dab'i, B'Tselem
Clashes near Nablus
Photo: AFP

Palestinians riot following death of 2 protestors

Some 100 people clash with security forces near Gush Etzion settlement of Tekoa. They hurl stones at security forces, who use crowd dispersal means against them

The funeral of Mohammed Qadus, 16, who was shot dead Saturday by the Israel Defense Forces during a violent protest near Nablus, was expected to be held Sunday morning.


Meanwhile, the IDF continues to investigate the circumstances of his death and of the death of another protester, Osayed Qadus, 20. The military claims – contrary to the Palestinians – that the two were not hit with live fire. In the meantime, violent clashes have reignited throughout the West Bank.


Some 100 Palestinians clashed with security forces near the Gush Etzion settlement of Tekoa. The rioters hurled stones at the forces, who are using crowd dispersal means to break up the group.


Sources in the defense establishment presumed that the protesters were rioting over the death of the two young Palestinians on Saturday during clashes with soldiers near Nablus. The security forces deployed with heavy reinforcements in light of concerns for disturbances.


The IDF is continuing its investigation of Saturday's incidents, in which two Palestinian protesters were killed.


Military officials say that troops did not use live ammunition during the confrontation, but Nablus doctor Mahmoud Qaadan, who treated Qadus at Rapidia hospital, told Ynet that the findings were conclusive: "We had an entry and exit of a bullet. We do not have a bullet, but these types of injuries with entry and exit wounds are only created by live ammunition and not by rubber-coated bullets."


Angle of shooting to be inspected

The Central Command at this point does not intend to change its rules of engagement regarding the use of rubber bullets while dispersing a crowd, even after the sobering result of Saturday's protest near Nablus. The IDF's basic assumption that no live ammunition was used remains in place.


The investigation, being led by Shomron Regiment Commander Col. Itzik Bar is focusing on the manner in which the rubber bullets resulted in the injury of the two young men. As part of the investigation, the angle of shooting and the location of the military forces relative to the location of the Palestinian rioters will be examined in order to determine whether either of these two factors made the shooting fatal.


Military sources noted that there is no reason as of now to alter the rules for using rubber bullets during clashes of this sort as long as it remains unknown whether the current rules of engagement were a factor in the two young Palestinians' death.


IDF sources said that if it is found that the rubber bullets are what resulted in their deaths that rubber bullets will no longer be used as crowd dispersal mechanisms during protests in which the other side is throwing stones.


"In the tense atmosphere throughout the West Bank, disturbances and protests must be taken care of in a manner that will not ignite the area and will not cause more damage than benefit," said an officer who served in the past in the Central Command and is familiar with the subject.


"The instructions we receive and pass on to the commands are, on the one hand, are to face the rioters and not to allow them to cross certain red lines, and, on the other hand, to be very cautious in applying force. After all, it is very easy for us to use many means. This is not the objective. We need to act with a lot of thought on how to decrease the flames while using the fewest means."


The officer and other sources noted that they are not fully acquainted with all the details of Saturday's events, but said that the final result of the protest proves that not everything was handled as it is supposed to be.


"Regardless of the sensitive political situation, such an event must be approached with great caution, and the significance of every action must be considered," the officer said. "Clearly nothing was done out of malice, but we can clearly see that something went awry and needs to be checked thoroughly."


The IDF Spokesperson Unit called the protest "a dangerous provocation" and reiterated that no live ammunition was used.


"Before firing rubber bullets, tear gas was used. The rioters were injured by the rubber bullets that were fired at the crowd in accordance with protocol," said the IDF Spokesperson Unit. It also noted that intensive talks were held with Palestinian officials in the Nablus region prior to the incident in order to prevent friction.


Shmulik Grossman contributed to this report 


פרסום ראשון: 03.21.10, 09:50
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