Palestinian’s Death on Land Day Renews Tensions in Hebron Area

Incidents of violence coinciding with Land Day have renewed tensions between local Palestinians and Jewish settlers in the Hebron region.

Police in the area are investigating the circumstances in which an Arab was fatally wounded in downtown Hebron last Thursday during demonstrations marking the anniversary of the shooting of six Arabs in 1976.

Local residents blamed Jewish settlers, and police confirmed they had eyewitnesses who had seen settlers firing shots in the city.

Settlers were later seen driving in and around the heavily Arab city carrying Israeli flags. Some settlers put “press” signs on their cars, as they threatened to do last week after journalists complained that police were impersonating reporters.

In one incident, a car which carried a “press” sign entered the village of Bani Naim, south of Hebron. When villagers began throwing stones, the passengers, believed to be settlers, climbed out of the vehicle and began shooting in the air.

According to an unconfirmed Palestinian report, the passengers then entered the home of the local village head and beat him.

Police officials said they had no information of exceptional activities by the settlers. Photographers took a picture of a settler firing in the air, reportedly in the heart of the village.

The other Palestinian fatality occurred in Eizariya, east of Jerusalem, where soldiers tried to break up a demonstration on the road to the Jewish settlement of Ma’aleh Adumim. A soldier shot and killed a Palestinian who reportedly tried to attack him with a heavy construction block.

Meanwhile, the army announced it would press criminal charges against four soldiers, including a battalion commander and a company commander, for aggravated assault, following the death in February 1988 of a resident of el-Bureij refugee camp in the Gaza Strip.

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