Clashes between Israeli security forces and Palestinians erupted on Saturday at the funeral of a 13-year-old said killed by Israeli gunfire in the West Bank.
Hundreds of Palestinians had gathered to mourn the death of Ali Abu Aliya in the village of al-Mughayyir, where the Palestinian youth was hit in the stomach and died later at a hospital Friday.
Dozens of people threw stones toward Israeli forces and set tires aflame during the gathering. Soldiers responded with intermittent barrages of tear gas.
Late Friday, the top UN political envoy in the region said he was “appalled” by the killing of the teen. Israel should “swiftly” and independently “investigate this shocking and unacceptable incident,” Nikolay Mladenov wrote on Twitter.
Commenting on the death, the Israeli military said “dozens of rioters” hurled rocks at Israeli soldiers and border police, who responded with “riot dispersal means,” including rubber-tipped bullets. It denied that its forces used live ammunition. The boy’s family says doctors said he was hit by live fire.
The protest was against the establishment of a new settlement outpost north of Ramallah.
Local residents have been holding weekly protests against the outpost for three weeks close to the neighboring village of Kafr Malik, resident Mohammad Abu Aliya, a relative of the boy, told The Times of Israel.
Clashes between Palestinian youths and Israeli forces entering Palestinian-controlled areas of the West Bank are common. The military often raids Palestinian towns to arrest people suspected of planning or taking part in attacks.
The Palestinian Red Crescent reported that Ali Abu Aliya was evacuated to hospital after being hit in his stomach and seriously wounded. He arrived at the hospital in critical condition, and later died of his wounds.
שוב נורה למוות ילד באש הצבא – עלי אבו עליא, בן 12, שיצא להפגין ליד ביתו בכפר אלמרייר.
קורבן רצח נוסף בשורה ארוכה של מעשי פשע אכזריים בשטחים הכבושים. די לכיבוש. pic.twitter.com/9bi2al3fQ3
— Ayman Odeh (@AyOdeh) December 4, 2020
A spokesperson for the IDF said the incident “will be looked into.” The spokesperson declined to say whether the IDF was directly responsible for the shooting, saying only that it was “aware of the claims.”
Mohammad Abu Aliya claimed in his call with The Times of Israel that he was present in the Ramallah hospital when the doctor emerged and informed the family that Ali had been shot with live fire.
Asked why a small child would be at such an event, Abu Aliya said: “When there are clashes with the army, most of the village comes, even if it’s just to watch.”
“Dozens of rioters threw stones at IDF and Border Police forces, and even tried to roll large boulders and burning tires from the ridges that overlook the Alon route, risking the lives of passengers on the road,” the IDF spokesperson said.
Another Palestinian witness on the scene, who declined to be identified by name, acknowledged that some of the demonstrators threw stones. But he denied that the Palestinians tried to roll boulders or burning tires onto passersby, calling the claim “nonsense.”
He claimed that the demonstrators were far away from the outpost and from the soldiers, who began to disperse the demonstrators with tear gas as soon as the protest began.
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas condemned the shooting, calling it “a hideous crime.”
“This crime shows the ugliness of the occupation against the defenseless Palestinian people. It is the latest in a daily series of killings that cannot be tolerated,” Abbas said in a statement.
Palestinian officials said four other people were also wounded with rubber bullets.