- Title: WEST BANK: Funeral of Palestinians killed in weekend clashes with Israeli troops
- Date: 22nd March 2010
- Summary: MORE OF FUNERAL PROCESSION FUNERAL MARCH OF SECOND YOUTH VARIOUS OF FUNERAL PROCESSION
- Embargoed: 6th April 2010 13:00
- Topics: Crime / Law Enforcement
- Reuters ID: LVAE0D7LREYRNZE2LWTYLN59UE70
- Story Text: Hundreds take part in funeral processions of Palestinians killed by Israeli soldiers in West Bank skirmishes.
Four Palestinians killed by Israeli forces in the West Bank were buried on Sunday (March 21) following violence that has exacerbated growing tensions.
The Israeli army shot dead two 19-year-olds who it said had tried to stab a soldier on patrol near Nablus in the occupied West Bank.
Two youths were also shot on Saturday.
Palestinian officials accused Israel of escalating tensions already running high over moves which Palestinians believe aim to deepen Israeli control over the territory.
Palestinian government spokesman Ghassan Khatib called for an independent investigation into the killing of cousins Mohammed Qawariq and Saleh Qawariq on Sunday, citing witness accounts they had been shot only after being arrested.
President of the Palestinian National Initiative Mustafa Barghouti said that the recent escalations destroy any possibility for peace.
"Today Netanyahu did two major provocations. First of all his army executed four young Palestinian civilians for no reason, they killed them in cold blood and with high velocity bullets. And second he declared that he is going to continue settlement activities in east Jerusalem and other parts of the occupied territories. This is a clear-cut provocation, his aim is to destroy possibility for peace, any possibility for a Palestinian state, and any possibility for a solution based on a two-state solution," he said.
One of the bodies was wrapped in a yellow Fatah flag and another in the green flag of the rival Hamas Islamist movement.
Abbas spokesman Nabil Abu Rdainah said Israel had responded to international efforts to revive peace talks "with more escalation" that thwarted attempts to get negotiations going.
Tensions in the West Bank and East Jerusalem have risen in recent weeks, with Palestinians staging more protests over Israeli policies they believe aim to retain land where the Palestinians want to establish a state. The United States is trying to relaunch peace negotiations between the two sides.
Many of the protests have turned violent, with Palestinians throwing rocks at soldiers who return fire with rubber bullets and tear gas.
This, though, was the bloodiest 24 hours for Palestinians in the West Bank for more than a year. Two youths killed by Israeli forces on Saturday were also buried in the nearby village of Iraq Burin, just a few kilometres (miles) from Awarta.
Palestinian medics said Mohammed Kaddous, 16, and Osaid Kaddous, 17, were killed by gunfire during a confrontation on Saturday between Israeli forces and Palestinian youths.
Ahmad Hammad, a Nablus doctor, showed a Reuters journalist a photograph of what he said was a bullet entry wound in Mohammed Kaddous's chest and an exit wound in his back.
Hamid al-Masri, a doctor treated Osaid Kaddous, presented an X-ray which he said showed a metal bullet lodged in his brain.
The Israeli army, which said it was responding to people throwing stones, denied using live rounds, only rubber bullets.
Locals said the youths, who were not closely related despite their similar names, had not been taking part in the protest.
Villagers in Iraq Burin have been staging protests over Israeli-imposed restrictions on access to farmland that lies near the Jewish settlement of Har Bracha. Jewish residents there say they are anxious to expand their land holdings rapidly.
Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad strongly condemned "the Israeli military escalation" that had led to the four deaths, according to a statement issued by his office.
He warned that Israel was endangering the West Bank stability which his administration has sought to build.
- Copyright Holder: REUTERS
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