NABLUS (Ma’an) — Two young Palestinian men were injured with live fire on Monday during clashes between Palestinian youth and Israeli forces in the village of Sabastiya in the northwest of the Nablus district in the occupied West Bank.
Palestinian medical sources told Ma’an that Israeli forces shot live bullets at 21-year-old Abd al-Ghani Bahlaq and 20-year-old Nimr Abu Ghazala, injuring them in their lower extremities.
Their conditions were later reported as stable.
An Israeli army spokesperson said they were looking into reports of the clashes and injuries.
Israeli police and soldiers have come under heavy criticism over the past year by rights groups for excessive use of force against Palestinians — against youth and children in particular — who did not pose an immediate threat or who could have been detained through non-violent means.
A report recently released by the Palestinian NGO BADIL, the Resource Center for Palestinian Residency and Refugee Rights, warned of an intensification of the “systematic targeting” of Palestinian youth in the occupied Palestinian territory since the beginning of 2016.
“This targeting has taken the form of injuries and arbitrary killings by the use of live ammunition by the Israeli army in the context of arrest campaigns, military raids, and random wide searches which usually trigger clashes,” the statement said.
BADIL’s initial investigations into the trend focused on the southern occupied West Bank district of Bethlehem, where at least 83 people have been shot with live ammunition since the beginning of the year, the majority in their legs and knees, causing both permanent and temporary disabilities.
The escalation of live fire injuries came amid reports of an Israeli army commander responsible for the near-nightly raids into Bethlehem’s three refugee camps — Duheisha, Aida, and Azza — threatening to disable all the camp youth in Duheisha.
“These threats indicate that these actions are not accidental or isolated incidents, but rather result from a systematic Israeli military policy aimed at suppressing resistance, terrorizing Palestinian youth, and permanently injuring them and/or causing significant damage to their physical and mental well-being,” BADIL said in their statement.