The murder of a Palestinian man by an Israeli soldier in broad daylight in the occupied West Bank has sparked widespread anger among Palestinians, amid calls on social media to escalate resistance actions against the Israeli occupation.
The last moments of 23-year-old Ammar Mufleh were captured on video by an unknown Palestinian on Friday. Footage shows Mufleh being held in a headlock by an Israeli soldier, while two other men try to wrestle him away. Mufleh then appears to punch the soldier and tries to grab hold of his rifle before the soldier pulls out a pistol and shoots him several times as he falls to the ground.
In the immediate aftermath, Israeli forces took Mufleh’s body away, denying him a funeral – a well-versed humiliation and control tactic against Palestinians shot dead by Israeli forces. Clashes broke out in the city and several Palestinians were subsequently injured, local media reported.
The incident took place in the occupied West Bank town of Huwara, south of Nablus, which went on a trade strike the next day in protest of Mufleh’s killing.
Ammar Mufleh, 22, was completely unarmed and tried to run for his life from a soldier’s stranglehold before being executed in cold blood! pic.twitter.com/MDy456apzF
— Mohammed Shehada (@muhammadshehad2) December 2, 2022
The Palestinian Foreign Ministry condemned the shooting as amounting to an execution intended to escalate already escalating violence in the occupied territory.
Palestinian activists and social media users used the hashtag “Huwara Execution” in Arabic, calling for a response to Israel’s crimes.
Abdelrahim al-Sheikh, a lecturer at Birzeit University, wrote on Facebook: “There is no other option for the Palestinian who has emerged from this land than to defend himself against the terrorism of the [Israeli] resident.”
A statement from the Lions’ Den, a multi-factional Palestinian armed group, called on people to block roads and take to the streets to protest.
The group said it carried out “firing operations” on Israeli targets near Nablus after midnight, and also fired on an Israeli military point on Mount Gerizim.
“We call on our brothers, the warriors of the factions, to close ranks and unite our arms to avenge the blood of the martyrs,” their statement said.
Continues to amaze me how unnoticed the killing of Palestinians by #Israel is… 10 Palestinians killed in 72 hours. 10…. made zero headlines in the mainstream media.
— Abier (@abierkhatib) December 2, 2022
Radwan al-Akhras, a Palestinian writer, pointed out that this is the 10th Palestinian killed by Israel in 10 days, saying it’s not just statistics, but people who had families and loved ones, hopes and dreams.
Rising tensions have made 2022 the deadliest year since the end of the second Intifada in 2005, with at least 207 Palestinians killed in the occupied territories of the Gaza Strip, the West Bank and East Jerusalem.
For their part, the Israeli police said in a statement that its border guards were approached by several suspects when one of them “pulled a knife and stabbed one of them.”
The guards “responded by shooting a suspect and neutralizing him,” the statement said, adding that one of the guards suffered minor injuries.
Palestinians rejected this version of events, saying Mufleh was unarmed and the alleged murder weapon had not been found.
No knife. No “stitches”. Cynical attempt to justify the ugly execution we’ve all seen on video.
Ammar hit the settler’s car with his fist before the settler shot him, after which the soldier simply executed him.
The 🇮🇱Settler Apartheid & Terror Regime is thriving in the occupied West Bank.
— Jalal (@JalalAK_jojo) December 2, 2022
Ahmed Majdalani, a member of the executive committee of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), said that the Israeli occupation forces had executed Mufleh in full view of the whole world, and that this is a clear sign of the “new fascism” in Israel.
“This documented and clear crime requires the International Criminal Court to try the occupying soldiers and end the occupation as a state above the law,” added Majdalani.
The PLO’s human rights body said there are changes in the shooting instructions and behavior of the Israeli forces in the occupied territory, based on the new aggressive policy of the far-right Israeli government against the Palestinians, which “sets a new phase”. in conflict”.
Palestinians and human rights defenders fear more aggressive policies under Prime Minister-designate Benjamin Netanyahu, who has cobbled together Israel’s far-right cabinet.
Netanyahu has brought into his cabinet Bezalel Smotrich, who opposes a Palestinian state, and Itamar Ben Gvir, an anti-Palestinian far-right religious settler.
Ben-Gvir, a settler from Kiryat Arba in the occupied West Bank, has been convicted of inciting racism, vandalizing property, possessing propaganda material from a “terror organization” and supporting a “terror organization”. Ben-Gvir also wants to expel “unfaithful” Palestinian citizens of Israel.
The far-right Religious Zionism Party, led by Smotrich, supports settlement building in the occupied territories. The party will have authority over Israeli settlement activities in the occupied West Bank under Netanyahu’s government.
The International Human Rights Foundation called on the international community to include sanctions against Israel.
“The police execution of young Palestinian Ammar Mufleh must not go unpunished,” the foundation tweeted.
“Such killings by Israeli state agents are too common and a clear violation of human rights. The international community must adopt sanctions.”
#Palestine🇵🇸 The police execution of young Palestinian Ammar Mufleh must not go unpunished. Such killings by Israeli state agents are too common and a clear violation of human rights. The international community must adopt sanctions. #nablus #West Bank
— International Human Rights Foundation (@Declaracion) December 2, 2022
Nasser Kanaani, spokesman for the Iranian Ministry of Foreign Affairs said Mufleh’s death “deserves a global response, but the daily crimes of the criminal Zionist regime are not condemned by human rights prosecutors, nor is a commission of inquiry formed into those crimes.”