Israeli forces kill Palestinian ‘after scuffle’ near Ramallah

Ahmed Kahla, 45, is the 13th Palestinian to be killed by Israelis in 15 days.

Israeli soldier stands behind a concrete barricade holding a gun
Israeli soldiers keep guard at a checkpoint where Ahmed Kahla was shot and killed near Silwad on January 15, 2023 [Mohamad Torokman/Reuters]

Israeli troops have shot and killed a Palestinian man near the occupied West Bank city of Ramallah, the Palestinian Health Ministry said.

According to the Palestinian news agency WAFA, witnesses said the man was shot on Sunday after he scuffled with Israeli soldiers at a checkpoint near the village of Silwad, north-east of Ramallah.

The man, named by the health ministry as 45-year-old Ahmed Kahla, was reportedly told to get out of his car before being shot. Kahla’s son, Qusai, said that he had been in the car when it was stopped.

“Soldiers came and they sprayed pepper spray on my face and pulled me out of the car,” the 18-year-old Qusai said.

“I don’t know what happened after that,” he added. “I found out from my uncle that my dad was killed.”

The Israeli military had said that its soldiers had spotted a “suspicious” vehicle that had refused to stop for an inspection, before a clash broke out after they tried to detain one of the occupants, who attempted to lunge for a soldier’s weapon.

The Palestinian foreign ministry condemned Kahla’s killing, and called it a “heinous execution”.

The death takes the number of Palestinians killed by Israelis this year to 13.

More than 170 Palestinians were killed in the occupied West Bank and east Jerusalem last year, including Al Jazeera journalist Shireen Abu Akleh, who was killed while reporting in Jenin in May.

The United Nations called it the deadliest year in the West Bank since 2006.

In March 2021, Israel stepped up raids across the occupied West Bank after a spate of attacks by Palestinians on Israelis that killed 19 people between March and May.

Near-daily raids have led to hundreds of arrests of Palestinians, home demolitions and increased tension, with a new mass Palestinian uprising, or Intifada, a possibility.

That is particularly the case in light of Israel’s new far-right government, which has taken an even harder line on the Palestinians than its predecessor, including plans to withhold tax money from the Palestinian Authority and stop Palestinians from building on 60 percent of the occupied West Bank.

The Palestinian foreign ministry said that Israel’s leadership has made it “easy for soldiers to kill any Palestinian without them posing any danger to the occupation soldiers”.

Newly-formed Palestinian armed groups have emerged in the last year, operating independently of traditional groups such as Fatah or Hamas. The Israeli military has been attempting to crack down on the groups in an ongoing operation called “Break the Wave”.

Palestinians see the raids as a further entrenchment of Israel’s open-ended, 55-year occupation of lands they seek for their future independent state.

Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies