Palestinians claim settler killed innocent boy working his olive grove

Jewish man may have fired in response to other Palestinians stoning his car.

Palestinian Nakba rally (photo credit: ASSOCIATED PRESS)
Palestinian Nakba rally
(photo credit: ASSOCIATED PRESS)
Claiming to avenge the death of a 16-year-old Palestinian boy, a faction of the Aksa Martyrs Brigades, an armed wing of Fatah, says it was responsible for Friday’s shooting attack on two Israeli vehicles on Route 60, near the Ofra settlement.
A Judea and Samaria Police spokesman said, “Two Israeli citizens suffered very light injuries and received medical treatment on the spot from paramedics” after Palestinian terrorists fired at their vehicles. The cars were damaged.
Soldiers and police searched the area for the attackers.
Members of the Aksa Martyrs Brigades said the attack was in response to the death of Aysar Yasser al-Zaben, whom Palestinians allege was shot to death by a settler as he worked in his family’s olive grove near Ramallah on Thursday afternoon, at the same time that stones were thrown at vehicles on Route 60 nearby.
Officials from the Civilian Administration of Judea and Samaria contacted the Palestinian Authority and called on it to restore calm to the area, saying, “Israel takes a severe view of the incident,” Israel Radio reported.
Zaben was buried on Friday in a funeral attended by thousands of people.
Judea and Samaria Police have opened an investigation into his death. A joint Israeli-Palestinian task force has been set up to examine the matter.
Forensics officers were sent to the scene on Friday. But it was too soon to know what took place, a police spokesman cautioned.
“We are examining the findings from the scene now,” spokesman Gili Elhadad said.
Elhadad said police received reports of stone-throwing and gunshots in the area on Thursday and were looking into both.
Israeli left-wing activist Jonathan Pollak said that on Thursday afternoon, a few Arab teenagers from Mazra’a a-Sharkiya, 15km. northeast of Ramallah, were throwing stones toward Route 60.
At some point, an Israeli man who appeared to be a settler stopped his car and opened fire in their direction.
The teens fled to the village. But since Zaben was not part of the group, they were not concerned about him, Pollak said.
Zaben’s family became concerned when he did not return home, Pollack said. They began to search for him and even contacted the IDF, the Border Police and the civil administration, fearing that he might have been detained for some reason.
As part of their search they went to the olive grove where he had been working. They found him face down on the ground with a bullet hole in his back, Pollak said.
Palestinian ambulance driver Talal Eideh also said the teen had been shot in the back.
Samer Shalabi, a Mazra’a a-Sharkiya resident and a journalist, said it was possible that more than one settler had fired at the teenagers.
He added that tensions were high in the village because of a march by settlers nearby the day before.
The Binyamin Citizens Committee said in response that in the past few days there had been a number of incidents in which Palestinians had attacked Jewish cars in the Binyamin region.
MK Michael Ben-Ari (National Union) said that Palestinians who threw stones at Jewish cars in Judea and Samaria did so with an intent to kill. When someone fires shots in an incident of that nature, they do so in self-defense, he said.
Jerusalem Post staff contributed to this report.