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At least six Palestinians killed since start of 2018

Israeli use of excessive force unlikely to decline in months ahead, a Ramallah-based rights organisation says.

At least six people have been killed in the occupied Palestinian territories since the beginning of the year 2018, according to a rights organisation.

On Tuesday, 16-year-old Laith Abu Naim succumbed to his wounds hours after being shot by Israeli forces in his village, on the outskirts of Ramallah in the occupied West Bank.

Laith is among five other youths who were killed as a result of the Israeli army's use of force, Maha Abdullah, a legal researcher at Al-Haq, a human rights NGO based in Ramallah, told Al Jazeera.

The others who lost their lives were: Firas Al-Tamimi, 16, Amir Abd Al-Hamid Abu Musa'ed, 15, Ali Omar Qino, 17, Ahmad Abd Al-Jaber Salim, 28, Ahmad Ismail Jarrar, 31.

Musa'ed was shot with live ammunition near Israel's border in the besieged Gaza Strip, while protesting US President Donald Trump's decision to recognise Jerusalem as Israel's capital.

"Over the past two months, Israel's excessive use of force has included the use of live ammunition [in some cases from a close distance] against protesters, rubber-coated metal bullets, firing tear gas canisters, and the launching of airstrikes on the Gaza Strip, among others," said Abdullah.

For almost two months, Palestinians have protested on a semi-daily basis to condemn Trump's declaration of moving the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

At least 2,900 Palestinians have been injured since Trump's announcement was made on December 6, according to the Palestine Red Crescent Society. More than 500 people have also been arrested by Israeli forces across the occupied Palestinian territories.

But, in other instances, the "excessive use of force" employed by Israeli forces came in the context of military raids, she noted.

"This is exemplified in the case of Al-Dheisha Camp near Bethlehem on January 4, where Israeli forces raided the camp and indiscriminately and disproportionally used fire, injuring random passersby," she said.

Israeli forces regularly carry out raids on homes across the West Bank and occupied East Jerusalem. The procedural raids usually happen based on "secret evidence", but Palestinians insist they are used to intimidate and punish their communities for resisting Israeli occupation.

Many are taken into administrative detention during raids – a legal procedure that allows Israel to imprison Palestinians from the West Bank and the Gaza Strip without charge or trial, for renewable periods of up to six months.

Beatings, forced arrests, and shootings occur during Israeli home demolition orders as well. The process has displaced thousands of Palestinians.

It is unclear whether the use of excessive force will wind down over the next few months, especially with the lack of accountability, Abdullah said.

This year, Palestinians will commemorate 70 years of the Nakba, the "day of catastrophe", in which Israel was officially declared a state, following the forced removal of more than 750,000 Palestinians from their homes and the destruction of over 500 villages and towns.

According to Abdullah, protests and demonstrations are "anticipated" with such events, and the excessive use of force strategy is not expected to wind down. 

"This will highly likely translate to more killings and injuries on the ground," she said.

SOURCE: Al Jazeera News


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