RAMALLAH: Three Palestinians were killed in an Israeli army raid in a West Bank refugee camp on Monday.
Six people were wounded, including one who is in critical condition, Palestinian medical sources said.
A comprehensive strike — spreading across educational institutions and trade unions — was observed in Nablus to mourn the killing of the three young men from the Balata refugee camp, adjacent to the city of Nablus in the northern West Bank.
Thousands of people, chanting slogans condemning the crimes of the Israeli army, attended the funeral of Fathi Rizk, 30; Abdullah Abu Hamdan, 24; and Mohammed Zaytoun, 32.
Over 400 soldiers from all Israeli combat units stormed the camp at dawn. Heavy shooting and violent confrontations lasted for four hours, resulting in the killings.
The Israeli army has killed 156 Palestinians including 20 children since the beginning of this year, Palestinian sources said.
The total deaths include 120 killed in the West Bank and 36 in the Gaza Strip, they added.
Palestinian Health Minister Mai Al-Kaila said that the Israeli occupation authorities were increasingly violating humanitarian laws through their attacks against medical and ambulance crews, obstructing their work.
In a statement, she said that the whole world “witnessed, at dawn today, Monday, how the Israeli occupation forces obstructed the work of paramedics and ambulances in Balata camp in Nablus while they were carrying out their humanitarian duty to transport the wounded and provide them with treatment.”
Al-Kaila said that Israeli occupation forces and settlers impede daily the movement of health personnel, paramedics, and ambulances within and between cities, preventing patients from obtaining the necessary treatment.
The Palestinian Red Crescent said that its medical staff was prevented from arriving at the Balata camp to provide first aid to the wounded despite coordination by the Red Cross.
Hussein Al-Sheikh, secretary-general of the Palestine Liberation Organization executive committee, said that the Israeli government “considers that the price of its survival and the continuation of its coalition is Palestinian blood.”
He said Israel “unleashes its army to commit daily crimes against the Palestinians and declares open war on the Palestinians by killing, destroying homes and settlements and desecrating sanctities.”
Nabil Abu Rudeineh, the official spokesman for the Palestinian Authority presidency, said that what happened in the Balata camp constitutes a massacre and a continuation of the comprehensive war against the Palestinian people.
The PA called on the US administration to intervene immediately to stop Israel’s violence and escalation of tensions.
Prime Minister Mohammed Shtayyeh said that Israel’s systematic aggression must be stopped and confronted locally, in the Arab world, and internationally.
Speaker of the Palestinian National Council Rawhi Fattouh said that the Israeli assault in the Balata camp reflected the criminal doctrine of the regime.
He added that the “silence of the international community encouraged the fascist occupation forces to commit more massacres and daily violations against the Palestinian people.”
Palestinian activists say there has been a significant escalation in the storming of Palestinian cities and camps and the use of excessive force by the Israeli army since the far-right Israeli government came to power in late December.
By targeting Palestinians, the Netanyahu government aims to divert attention from criticisms against his regime, they said, pointing to an increase in the use of violence and home demolitions after the wave of protests inside Israel.
Political analysts told Arab News that the West Bank is the only front in which the Israeli army can claim victory, as it does not dare become involved with the Lebanese Hezbollah or Hamas in the Gaza Strip.
“The Israeli army is busy killing Palestinians on an almost daily basis, and Palestinians are busy, accordingly, with funerals, while the world is watching and doing nothing to stop Israel,” a senior Palestinian security official, who requested anonymity, told Arab News.
Hamas said that the “escalation of Israeli crimes against the Palestinians…will not go unanswered.”
Also on Monday, Israeli authorities seized Palestinian-owned lands in the village of Aboud, northwest of Ramallah.
Amir Daoud, director-general of documentation and publication in the Settlement and Wall Resistance Commission, said that Israeli authorities seized 14 dunums (3.5 acres) of land from the village of Aboud for military purposes.