The city of Ramallah in the occupied West Bank witnessed intense clashes on Thursday as Israeli armed forces conducted a raid, leaving at least 35 individuals wounded. The operation, carried out by the Israeli army, targeted the house of Islam Faroukh, a Palestinian accused of involvement in a bombing attack in Jerusalem last year.
The Israeli military reported that the raid aimed to demolish Faroukh’s residence, marking a part of their strategy to deter potential attackers and send a message of consequences for those involved in acts of violence.
Over 35 Palestinians were wounded, including two journalists, during an Israeli raid on the occupied West Bank city of Ramallah pic.twitter.com/aG6GHWehDM
— Middle East Eye (@MiddleEastEye) June 8, 2023
Faroukh was accused of carrying out a devastating double-bombing attack in Jerusalem, last November. The incident claimed the lives of two people, including an Israeli Canadian teenager, and left at least 14 others wounded.
The operation to demolish the suspect’s house in Ramallah was met with swift and vehement resistance from the local Palestinian population.
Eyewitnesses on the ground described a large military convoy entering downtown Ramallah, prompting hundreds of Palestinians to gather in the area. The tense atmosphere soon erupted into clashes, with Palestinian youths hurling stones at Israeli soldiers. In response, the Israeli forces employed live bullets, stun grenades, and tear gas to disperse the crowd.
The Palestinian health ministry has confirmed that 35 individuals sustained injuries during the clashes. At least 20 of them were wounded by live ammunition. Among the wounded, three individuals suffered severe injuries, including two with abdominal wounds and one who was struck by a rubber bullet that penetrated their skull.
The Israeli military justified its use of force, stating that its soldiers were confronted by crowds throwing petrol bombs and rocks, necessitating a response with live fire.
Criticism of the Israeli military’s use of force swiftly emerged, with concerns raised over the proportionality of their response to the Palestinian protesters. Human rights organizations and Palestinian officials condemned the raid, arguing that the excessive use of live ammunition against unarmed demonstrators constitutes a violation of international law.
Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh denounced the operation, characterizing it as a “heinous crime” that resulted in an entire family being left homeless overnight.Shtayyeh’s strong condemnation echoes the sentiments of many Palestinians who view such actions as collective punishment against families who may not be involved in alleged crimes.
The incident further escalates the already heightened tensions in the region, as violence between Israelis and Palestinians has intensified in recent months. The Israeli-Palestinian conflict, rooted in longstanding territorial disputes and differing political aspirations, continues to pose significant challenges to the prospects of peace and stability.