Hamas calls for more confrontations with Israel and settlers

Terror group urges violence after Israeli security forces shoot dead a Palestinian teen, who IDF says threw Molotov cocktail at troops during clashes in Hebron

Adam Rasgon is a former Palestinian affairs reporter at The Times of Israel

Palestinians throw stones at an Israeli checkpoint during clashes with Israeli forces in the center of the flashpoint city of Hebron in the West Bank on February 4, 2020. (Photo by HAZEM BADER / AFP)
Palestinians throw stones at an Israeli checkpoint during clashes with Israeli forces in the center of the flashpoint city of Hebron in the West Bank on February 4, 2020. (Photo by HAZEM BADER / AFP)

The Hamas terror group on Wednesday called on Palestinians to step up confrontations with Israel after Israeli security forces shot dead a Palestinian teenager, who the IDF said threw a Molotov cocktail at troops during clashes in the West Bank city of Hebron

“We call for escalating confrontations with the occupation and its settlers and fighting their assaults against the land and holy sites, especially the blessed Al-Aqsa Mosque,” Hamas said in a statement posted on its official website, referring to the name Palestinians use to refer to the Temple Mount in Jerusalem’s Old City.

“We affirm that this heinous crime is another one of the Israeli occupation’s crimes of intentionally targeting innocent civilians and children among our people,” it added.

Hamas, which rules the Gaza Strip, has frequently encouraged Palestinians in the West Bank to clash with Israeli security forces and settlers.

The Palestinian Authority Health Ministry identified the teenager as 17-year-old Mohammed al-Haddad and said that he was shot in the heart.

According to the IDF, al-Haddad hurled a firebomb at soldiers at the entrance to Shuhada Street in the flashpoint city in the southern West Bank.

“During a violent riot that took place a short time ago in the city of Hebron, IDF troops spotted a Palestinian throwing a Molotov cocktail at them. They responded with live fire in order to remove the threat,” the military said.

The IDF has been on heightened alert in the West Bank over the past week, following the release of US President Donald Trump’s plan to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

The IDF said on Wednesday that recent days have seen a general uptick in violence in Hebron.

“For the past few days, violent riots have taken place in Hebron, near the Jewish settlement, with dozens of Palestinians taking part, throwing stones, burning tires and hurling Molotov cocktails at IDF troops and security forces,” the military said.

Hebron, where Israeli settlers and Palestinians live in close proximity, has frequently witnessed small clashes in recent years, especially when tensions between the Ramallah-based Palestinian leadership and the US or Israel increase.

Palestinian participating in a funeral procession on February 5, 2020 in Hebron for 17-year-old Mohammed al-Haddad, who Israeli security forces shot dead in Hebron during clashes. The IDF said security forces fired at him after he hurled a Molotov cocktail at them. (Credit: Wafa)

Small clashes between young Palestinians and Israeli security forces have intermittently taken place in some locations in the West Bank since the publication of Trump’s plan.

Breaking with past US administrations, the plan envisions the creation of a Palestinian state in about 70 percent of the West Bank, a small handful of neighborhoods in East Jerusalem, most of Gaza and some areas of southern Israel — if the Palestinians recognize Israel as a Jewish state, disarm Hamas and other terror groups in the Gaza Strip, and fulfill other conditions.

The plan also allows Israel to annex settlements, grants the Jewish state sovereignty over the Jordan Valley and overriding security control west of the Jordan River, and bars Palestinian refugees from settling in Israel.

Both the PA and Hamas have vehemently rejected the initiative, with PA President Mahmoud Abbas calling it “the slap of the century.”

Abbas called Haddad’s family on Wednesday to offer them his condolences and told them that “our people will continue to cling to its land and defend it,” the official PA news site Wafa reported.

Palestinians in Hebron also participated in a funeral procession for Haddad late Wednesday and buried him in the city.

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