Raed al-Salhi, pictured holding a flag for the leftist PLO faction the Popular Front For the Liberation of Palestine
BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) — A 21-year-old Palestinian succumbed to critical injuries in an Israeli hospital on Sunday, weeks after he was shot by Israeli forces during a violent detention raid into al-Duheisha refugee camp in the southern occupied West Bank district of Bethlehem.
The two injured young men were detained by Israeli forces and taken to Israel’s Hadassah hospital in Jerusalem. Arafeh has reportedly remained in a stable condition.
Head of the Palestinian Committee for Prisoners’ Affairs Issa Qaraqe told Ma’an on Sunday afternoon that al-Salhi succumbed to his wounds.
Shortly after the announcement of al-Salhi’s death, mourners launched a march in al-Duheisha, chanting condolences to his mother and calling for revenge for the killing.
It was later reported that locals in al-Duhiesha refugee camp decided to ban all press from covering al-Salhi’s funeral, due to the apparent lack of coverage by major local media outlets during the weeks of al-Salhi’s hospitalization, according to al-Duheisha al-Hadath, a Facebook page reporting on local events in the camp and across the occupied West Bank.
It remained unclear when the funeral would be held or when al-Salhi’s body would be handed over by Israeli authorities, who routinely detain the bodies of slain Palestinians for extended periods and impose strict restrictions on their funerals.
Qaraqe said he held Israel responsible for the young man’s death, as al-Salhi was shot by Israeli forces with live ammunition at close range. He was believed to have been unarmed.
At the time of the shooting, an Israeli army spokesperson told Ma’an that during a raid to detain the two Palestinians, “the suspects attempted to flee the area,” at which point Israeli army soldiers began to chase the Palestinians on foot.
“During the pursuit, soldiers opened fire towards the suspects, injuring them. They were treated at the scene and then evacuated to a hospital for further medical treatment,” the spokesperson said.
Al-Salhi and Arafeh were both presumably unarmed when they were shot, particularly as Israeli army spokespersons will mention when Palestinians throw rocks or Molotov cocktails at Israeli soldiers during such raids into al-Duheisha.
Lawyer for the prisoners’ committee Karim Ajwa had stated in a report on Aug. 14 that there had been a slight improvement in al-Salhi’s health, who was in the intensive care unit under anesthesia and breathing using a respirator.
Meanwhile, al-Salhi’s brother Bassam al-Salhi was later detained during a raid into the camp on Aug. 16.
In July, 18-year-old Baraa Hamamda, a resident of al-Duheisha, succumbed to wounds sustained in his upper body after he was shot by Israeli forces during a raid into the camp.
Israeli raids in Palestinian towns, villages, and refugee camps are a daily occurrence in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem.
Due to the typically aggressive nature of the raids, clashes often erupt between local Palestinian youth who throw stones and are met in response with live fire, rubber-coated steel bullets, and tear gas, often resulting in serious, sometimes fatal, injuries.
Rights groups have routinely condemned Israeli authorities for their use of excessive force against Palestinians, particularly in refugee camps, during incidents that did not warrant a violent response.
According to Ma’an documentation, al-Salhi was the 55th Palestinian to be killed by an Israeli since the beginning of 2017. During the same time period, 13 Israelis — almost all of whom were uniformed Israeli officers or settlers residing in Palestinian territory in violation of international law — were killed by Palestinians.