Palestinians killed in Israeli raid, peace talks continue

RAMALLAH, West Bank Mon Aug 26, 2013 5:50pm EDT

A Palestinian protester gets ready to throw a Molotov cocktail during small clashes with Israeli forces following the funerals of Robin Zayed, Younis Jahjouh and Jihad Aslan at Qalandiya Refugee Camp near the West Bank city of Ramallah August 26, 2013. REUTERS/Darren Whiteside

A Palestinian protester gets ready to throw a Molotov cocktail during small clashes with Israeli forces following the funerals of Robin Zayed, Younis Jahjouh and Jihad Aslan at Qalandiya Refugee Camp near the West Bank city of Ramallah August 26, 2013.

Credit: Reuters/Darren Whiteside

RAMALLAH, West Bank (Reuters) - Israeli troops shot dead three Palestinians during an early morning raid in a West Bank refugee camp on Monday, hours before negotiators met for another round of peace talks, Palestinian sources said.

Israeli border police said they entered the Qalandiya camp, near Jerusalem, to arrest a man and were confronted by a crowd throwing firebombs and rocks.

Witnesses said the Israeli forces opened fire and hospital officials told Reuters three men were killed.

The United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), which provides aid to Palestinian refugees, said one of its employees, a 34-year-old father of four, was among the dead.

"Credible reports say that (Robeen Zayed) was on his way to work and was not engaged in any violent activity. He was shot in the chest," said UNRWA spokesman Christopher Gunness.

A military spokeswoman confirmed that troops had been shot at and returned fire in self-defense. She added that the forces arrested the man they had come to detain.

"Large, violent crowds which significantly outnumber security forces leave no other choice but to resort to live fire for self defense," Lieutenant-Colonel Peter Lerner, another military spokesman, said.

The riot had become "so large and violent that it was vital for forces to assist in containing it," he added.

An Israeli security source said an investigation had showed live fire was only directed towards rioters.

PEACE TALKS CONTINUE

The U.S.-brokered peace talks carried on after the clashes, though no details emerged of the discussions.

Talks resumed last month after a three-year stalemate caused by Israeli settlement expansion in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, areas Israel captured in 1967 which Palestinians seek for a state along with the Gaza Strip.

Neither party has expressed much optimism for a major breakthrough and the negotiators have met largely in secret, alternating between Israeli and Palestinian locations.

Thousands of residents of the tightly-packed camp, later carried the three men's bodies, draped in Palestinian flags with their heads wrapped in traditional black and white chequered scarves, in a funeral procession that wound its way through its narrow alleyways.

Around ten masked Palestinian militants fired their automatic weapons into the air in salute.

After the funeral, dozens of local youths threw stones towards Israeli soldiers at the Qalandiya checkpoint, a main crossing between the West Bank and Jerusalem, and they were met with volleys of tear gas and rubber bullets.

Nabil Abu Rdaineh, a spokesman for Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, described the killings as "assassinations".

"The series of Israel crimes and new settlement tenders constitute a clear message on the real Israeli intentions towards the peace process, and there will be negative consequences to these actions," he said in a statement.

The Israeli police arrested a local man who had previously served a nine-year prison sentence for alleged militant activity, residents said. About a dozen protesters were wounded in the clash, they added.

Israeli troops often enter Palestinian-controlled territory to detain people suspected of planning attacks, usually conducting the raids during darkness to minimize confrontation.

Violence in the West Bank has worsened since the beginning of 2013.

With Monday's deaths, Israeli forces have killed 14 Palestinians there this year, most of them in clashes, compared with three fatalities in the same period in 2012, according to United Nations figures.

(Additional reporting by Ari Rabinovitch in Jerusalem; Editing by Ori Lewis and Andrew Heavens)

We welcome comments that advance the story through relevant opinion, anecdotes, links and data. If you see a comment that you believe is irrelevant or inappropriate, you can flag it to our editors by using the report abuse links. Views expressed in the comments do not represent those of Reuters. For more information on our comment policy, see http://blogs.reuters.com/fulldisclosure/2010/09/27/toward-a-more-thoughtful-conversation-on-stories/
Comments (8)
cautious123 wrote:
So, Israeli troops raid a refugee camp in an area they have no right to be in, and when the residents defend themselves with stones, the “brave” Israelis open fire with their sophisticated weaponry, killing three innocents. Then, Reuters runs an incendiary photo totally unrelated to the story, showing someone — presumably a Palestinian — with a molotov cocktail, just to drive home the “militant Palestinian” stereotype. Would the “reportage” be the same if a Palestinian had killed three Israelis? Would the photo show the Israelis dropping bombs on unarmed civilians — as they have done many times? Would the US have continued “peace” talks? Just answering these questions honestly will point out the bizarre imbalance of the mainstream meadia — not to mention its blatant bias and racism.

Aug 26, 2013 11:52am EDT  --  Report as abuse
gcf1965 wrote:
Another demonstartion of Palestinian violence. Israeli forces entering to look for a criminal are met with stones and firebombs, then the ignorant fools cry foul when the ones they picked a fight with respond with superior force. Here’s an idea you ignorant and vile Pals, stop picking fights or at least accept the consequences of your stupidity.

Aug 26, 2013 1:20pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
usagadfly wrote:
Of course both sides continue the “peace” talks. If they do not they will not get their promised US taxpayer payoff. This bit of political theater will cost the US taxpayer billions. Food Stamps will be cut to pay for it. Rah rah rah.

Aug 26, 2013 1:25pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
This discussion is now closed. We welcome comments on our articles for a limited period after their publication.

Full focus