A Palestinian-American youth, Orwa Hammad, was shot dead on Friday by Israel Defense Forces (IDF) in the West Bank, the second fatality in the occupied territory in eight days.
Hammad, 14, was shot in the West Bank town of Silwad, northeast of Ramallah. Earlier that day, Palestinians had been throwing rocks at IDF forces stationed nearby. The United States Department of State released a statement on Friday calling for a “speedy and transparent investigation, and will remain closely engaged with the local authorities, who have the lead on this investigation” into the shooting.
“We continue to urge all parties to help restore calm and avoid escalating tensions in the wake of the tragic recent incidents in Jerusalem and the West Bank,” the statement concluded.
Tensions between Israel and the occupied territories have risen dramatically recently, as IDF soldiers shot and killed another teenager, 13 year-old Bahaa Sameer Badr, on 16 October.
Last week, a Palestinian drove his car into a crowded railway station, killing three year-old Chaya Zissel. The assailant, Abdul-Rahman Idris Cloda, was killed by police as he attempted to escape. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called the murder a terrorist attack.
The attack came after the death of five year-old Enas Khalil, who was killed after she was run over by an Israeli settler.
Riyad Mansour, the permanent observer of Palestine to the United Nations, said following Khalil’s death:”I am compelled to place on record our absolute condemnation of the criminal, deadly actions being perpetrated by extremist terrorist settlers illegally transferred by Israel, the occupying power, to the Palestinian land, as well as continued Israeli incitement and provocations against holy sites, in particular in East Jerusalem, in what appear to be a deliberate attempts to exacerbate already-volatile tensions and create further instability.”
Mansour detailed a number of similar incidents that resulted in the deaths of Palestinians. On 25 September, a 10 year-old girl was hit by an Israeli settler in the town of Silwan, on 17 August a Palestinian was killed after he was run over by an Israeli settler in East Jerusalem, and on 14 August a Palestinian man was run over by an Israeli settler. An eight year-old Palestinian girl was run over in the southern West Bank on 7 August.
Mounting tensions between Palestinians and Israelis continue to threaten the possible success of the indirect peace talks that are set to resume in Cairo on Monday.