Palestinian man dies of wounds month after West Bank clash with IDF
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Palestinian man dies of wounds month after West Bank clash with IDF

PA says Islam Dweikat had been in intensive care since he was shot at a confrontation last month during which a Palestinian teenager was killed

Palestinian youths take cover amidst tear gas smoke during clashes with Israeli forces in a village south of Nablus in the West Bank on March 11, 2020. (JAAFAR ASHTIYEH / AFP)
Palestinian youths take cover amidst tear gas smoke during clashes with Israeli forces in a village south of Nablus in the West Bank on March 11, 2020. (JAAFAR ASHTIYEH / AFP)

Palestinian officials said Wednesday that a 22-year-old man had died from wounds he sustained in a clash with Israeli forces last month.

The officials said that Islam Dweikat had been in intensive care since he was shot in Beita, a village near the city of Nablus in the northern West Bank.

Another Palestinian — 15-year-old Mohammed Hamayel — was killed in the same confrontation, in which Palestinians rallied against alleged Israeli land confiscations.

At the time, the army said it had opened fire in response to a violent riot by 500 Palestinians in which protesters hurled stones at Israeli forces.

The clashes broke out after Israeli security forces arrived at the Orma hilltop in the village of Beita, the official PA news site, Wafa, reported then. Seventeen Palestinians were wounded, including two who were in critical condition, the Palestinian Authority health ministry said.

The IDF also said at the time that the incident would be investigated.

At the time, Walid Assaf, the head of the PA’s Commission Against the Wall and Settlements, said Palestinians had been holding a sit-in on the hilltop to “protect it from being taken over by settlers.”

“Around 5 a.m., large numbers of army jeeps arrived at Orma and soldiers started to shoot live fire, rubber bullets, tear gas and everything else they have at us,” Assaf said in a phone call, noting that Palestinians have regularly gathered at the site since they learned about “the settler efforts to seize it.”

He said the clashes continued for several hours into the late morning.

The hilltop is in Area B of the West Bank, where — according to the Oslo Accords — the PA is responsible for civil affairs and Israel is largely in charge of security issues.

Assaf described it as an archaeological site containing an ancient fortress as well as 18 wells, but downplayed Jewish connections to it, contending that they were not involved in its construction.

Samaria Regional Council chairman Yossi Dagan described the site in a Facebook post on February 17 as Jewish and argued it was where the biblical story of Abimelech, who was a king in the Book of Judges, took place.

Dagan also accused the PA of destroying Orma and called on Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and other officials to intervene.

“It is totally forbidden for the State of Israel to abandon the site in this way,” he said.

Several PA officials, including Assaf, attended an event there on February 26 to inaugurate a project, which the PA Nablus Governorate said was aimed at turning it into an archaeological park.

Assaf denied that the Palestinians were causing damage to the site.

Adam Rasgon contributed to this report.

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