No Israeli settlers questioned as suspects in fatal shooting of Palestinian: report
AP Photo/Majdi Mohammed
Israel Police investigating the shooting death of a Palestinian man during clashes with Jewish settlers in the West Bank on Saturday, have yet to question any member of the Adei Ad settlement outpost’s security squad, Haaretz reported Monday.
Palestinians from the al-Mughayyir village allege that Israeli settlers from the Adei Ad outpost's security team had tried to enter their village armed with the intent of attacking them. As the violence erupted, a random shot -- that was later attributed to an Israeli civilian -- was fired, hitting 38-year-old Hamdi Taleb Na’asan in the back and fatally wounding him.
The Israeli army and police force immediately launched an investigation into the event and on Sunday summoned all 20 members of Adei Ad’s local security team for questioning. According to Walla news, the probe will focus on examining whether the team was justified in entering the Palestinian village.
However, according to the Haaretz report, as part of the investigation into the incident, police summoned settlers to provide their account of the incident. Yet, sources revealed that no testimony had been taken from those involved in the clash.
Rather, police sources said that the summoned settlers so far at this stage in the investigation were brought in to provide testimonies as witnesses and not as criminal suspects.
One dead, three narratives
Mughayir is a village with around 4,000 residents surrounded by four Israeli settlements all deemed to be illegal under international law.
Three different narratives of the day have come to characterize the clashes between Palestinians, settlers, and Israeli soldiers over the weekend.
The settlers claim three Palestinian villagers attempted to “kidnap” an Adei Ad settler, and in in response, a group of settlers serving as the outpost's unofficial security force headed for Mughayir, the scene of several clashes in recent months.
Tzuriel Amiur, a spokesman for Adei Ad settlement, said a 19-year-old settler had been "attacked by a group of Palestinians who stabbed him and threw stones at him".
According to Amiur, the group were then "ambushed" by as many as 200 Palestinians throwing rocks.
The army statement provided after the incident did not correlate the claim that any settler had been stabbed, but said an Israeli civilian was said to have been lightly wounded and did not require evacuation.
Both the Palestinians and the settlers allege that army troops used live fire in order to disperse the clashes, a charge the IDF has denied.
Al-Mughayyir Mayor, Faraj Na’asan told the Times of Israel that the settlers "with the protection of the army" had "attempted to raid the village from its northern end."
"The people then confronted the settlers to prevent them from entering the village. The settlers then opened fire on us, killing one of our sons, while the army shot into the air. The person who they killed was my nephew," the mayor continued.
The Palestinian health ministry reported a further 30 casualties, including one said to be in a serious condition.
United Nations Middle East envoy Nickolay Mladenov denounced the attack “shocking and unacceptable”, calling on Israel to “put an end to settler violence and bring those responsible to justice.”
Top Palestinian negotiator in a tweet shortly after the incident said "we hold the Israeli government fully responsible for this new crime." Whilst President Mahmoud Abbas, cited by Wafa, slammed the "gangs of settlers assaults on the village of Mughayyir which led to the martyrdom of Hamdi Na’asan."
The Hamas and Islamic Jihad terror groups have since called for revenge for Na’asan’s death.
The Shin Bet has warned of a growing threat of Jewish extremism, saying in recent years that they were currently investigating an 'anti-Zionist organization' with a vision of "overthrowing the government of Israel through violent means" including "kicking out non-Jews and harming minorities."
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