The Palestinian Centre For Human Rights (PCHR): Israeli occupation forces (IOF) killed on Wednesday, 11 March 2020, a Palestinian child and wounded 14 other civilians, including a journalist during its suppression of civilian gathering on al-‘Arma Mountain, southeast Bita village, Nablus, Northern West Bank. Two of the wounded were deemed in critical condition.

According to PCHR investigations, approximately at 05:00 on Wednesday, Israeli forces backed by at least 40 military vehicles and 2 construction vehicles moved into al-‘Arma Mountain, and proceeded to suppress a civilian gathering (dozens) who had an overnight sit-in starting at 20:00 on Tuesday, 10 March 2020, as IOF provided protection for settlers. IOF fired live and rubber bullets, as well as tear gas canisters at the civilian gathering in order to disperse them.

Clashes erupted until 07:00 Wednesday morning. As a result, IOF aggression resulted in the injury of 14 civilians. Mohammed Abdulkarim Khassab Hamayel (15) was shot with a live bullet in the head and deemed critical, until his death was announced at 12:00 today at the Intensive Care Unit at Rafidia Hospital in Nablus. Among those wounded was journalist Baker Mohammed Abdulhaq (30) who was shot with a rubber bullet in his left leg while covering the incident for Palestine TV; two others were deemed in an extremely critical conditions, while dozens suffocated due to tear gas inhalation and were attended to in the field.

According to eyewitnesses’ statement to PCHR fieldworker, IOF did not allow paramedics to evacuate the wounded, including Hamayel (15) and left them to bleed on the ground for more than half an hour before ambulance were allowed to enter after the area was forcibly evacuated from all civilians. All of the above occurred despite the fact that the civilian gathering did not pose any danger to the lives of Israeli soldiers.

This is the 3rd IOF raid into al-‘Arma Mountain in the past 2 weeks against civilian gatherings intended to obstruct settlers’ overtake of the area, where 146 Palestinians sustained wounds.

Al-‘Arma Mountain is one of the highest points of altitude in the Nablus governorate (843m above the sea level), and it has a historic site (60 dunums) and it is part of Bita village, southeast of Nablus. Israeli settlers intend to control it and annex it to settlements “Givat Arnon” and “Itamar” under religious pretexts.

PCHR strongly condemns IOF continued use of excessive force that led to the killing of Hamayel and wounding others, which provides further evidence of the Israeli doctrine of excessive lethal force without the presence of any threats to Israeli soldiers’ lives.