Monday, March 22, 2010

Palestine / Israel

Tensions Rise as Israeli Soldiers Kill 2 Palestinians
By Edmund Sanders
The Los Angeles Times, March 22, 2010
"Hours before Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu embarked Sunday on a trip to Washington to mend U.S.-Israeli ties, tensions built in the West Bank when Israeli soldiers shot dead two Palestinian teenagers they say threatened them with a pitchfork and ax. The shootings brought the Palestinian death toll to four during the last two days in the Nablus region. On Saturday, two Palestinian teens were shot by soldiers after a clash with Jewish settlers over a water well. 'This escalation by Israel and the killing of Palestinians every day is going to sabotage efforts by the U.S. and others to restart peace talks,' said Nabil abu Rudaineh, a spokesman for Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas. Sunday's violence erupted after an Israeli military patrol stopped to question two Palestinians they deemed suspicious, Israeli military officials said. 'When they got out of their vehicle, the Palestinians tried to stab a soldier with a pitchfork and an ax,' an army spokeswoman said. Palestinian officials said the two were farmhands, both 17, who were shot as they sat on the ground in military custody. Meanwhile, human rights groups challenged Israeli army assertions that the two teenagers at the well Saturday were shot with rubber bullets. Mohamed Qadus, 16, died Saturday of chest wounds. Asaud Qadus, 19, believed to be a cousin, died Sunday of a shot to the head, hospital officials said. Officials with B'Tselem and the Popular Struggle Coordination Committee, two groups that work on behalf of Palestinians, released photos of the teenagers' injuries that they said show the army used live rounds. The photos included an X-ray image of a bullet they said was lodged in one teen's skull and an entrance and exit wound from the other's chest. 'There's no way rubber bullets could cause that kind of damage,' said Jonathan Pollak, a spokesman for the Popular Struggle Coordination Committee. Israeli officials insisted that only rubber bullets were used, but said they are investigating the case. [...]"

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