Palestinians say Israeli troops kill man in West Bank as violence flares

An Israeli policeman secures a shooting site in east Jerusalem. Credit: AP Photo/Mahmoud Illean

Israeli forces killed a Palestinian man in the occupied West Bank on Monday, the Palestinian Health Ministry said.

The death marks an escalation of violence in a spate of recent attacks that come as the US Secretary of State Antony Blinken plans a visit to the region.

The Palestinian Health Ministry said the man, Nassim Abu Fouda, 26, was shot in Hebron, often a centre of clashes with the Israeli military, bringing the number of Palestinians killed this month to 35. It comes after an Israeli military raid on a militant stronghold in the West Bank city of Jenin last week killed ten people, and a Palestinian shooting attack in an east Jerusalem Jewish settlement killed seven Israelis. Unrest has continued in the ensuing days, prompting Israel to approve a series of punitive steps against Palestinians, including sealing and demolishing the homes of Palestinian attackers and cancelling social security benefits for their families.

ITV News' Lucy Watson on Sunday reported on the deteriorating security situation in Israel

Mr Blinken is set to travel to Jerusalem on Monday to meet with Israel's prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who is in charge of a newly installed right-wing government.

The administration has pledged to take a hard line against the Palestinians and ramp up settlement construction on lands the Palestinian seek for their hoped-for state.

Mr Blinken is also due to travel to Ramallah, a Palestinian city in the central West Bank, to speak with Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas - and, according to US officials, the main theme in both conversations will be around “de-escalation”.

Antony Blinken, left, and Benjamin Netanyahu arrive for a joint statement after a meeting in Jerusalem, in 2021. Credit: AP Photo/Alex Brandon, Pool

After the Jenin raid, the Palestinians said they would cancel security coordination with Israel and after attacks against Israelis intensified, Israel said it would beef up Jewish settlements in the West Bank.

Ahead of his meeting with Mr Blinken, Netanyahu said on Sunday that Israel’s response is not intended to exacerbate tensions. “We are not seeking an escalation, but we are prepared for any scenario,” he told a Cabinet meeting. “Our answer to terrorism is a heavy hand and a strong, swift and precise response.”

The US has remained silent on Netanyahu’s proposed sweeping changes to Israel’s judicial system, which would allow lawmakers to overrule decisions by the Supreme Court.

Recent weeks have seen mass protests in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv over the proposals that critics say would badly damage Israel’s democratic standing.

Nearly 150 Palestinians were killed last year, making 2022 the deadliest since 2004, according to the Israeli rights group B’Tselem. Israel claims most of the dead were militants.

Palestinians celebrate after a shooting attack near a synagogue in Jerusalem, in Gaza City, Friday, January 27. Credit: AP Photo/Fatima Shbair

UNICEF is calling for the protection of all children amid the increase of violence in the region.

A spokesperson said: “UNICEF is alarmed by the latest escalation of violence that has left many dead and injured. All children are entitled to special protection under international human rights law, and all their rights including the right to life and protection must be upheld at all times. “Children continue to pay the highest price of violence. Since the start of 2023, 7 Palestinian children and one Israeli child were killed. Many more were injured and are affected by the spiral of violence. "As the situation remains very volatile, UNICEF fears that an increasing number of children will suffer. UNICEF appeals to all parties to de-escalate, exercise the utmost restraint and refrain from using violence, especially against children, in accordance with international law. “Violence is never a solution, and all forms of violence against children are unacceptable. This must end."

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