JERUSALEM – The deaths of four young Palestinians killed by Israeli forces over the past two days is adding to soaring tensions over Jewish settlements.
Several thousand people turned out for the funerals of Mohammed Kaddous, 16, and Osaid Kaddous, 17, who were shot by Israeli forces on Saturday in the village of Iraq Burin.
One youth at the funeral said the village would continue its struggle. He would not give his name for fear of arrest: “The settlers come to take our land,” he said. “We won’t let them. We will continue to resist and to push them out.”
Mohammed and Osaid Kaddous were the first Palestinians to die as a result of the recent wave of protests that has swept both the West Bank and East Jerusalem.
The bodies, wrapped in Palestinian flags, were carried through the village before burial on Sunday. Mourners declared them martyrs and chanted defiant slogans against Israel.
Teacher Fathi Faqih remembered Mohammed Kaddous as his best student. “He dreamt of being an engineer or doctor. It’s a loss for Iraq Burin and Palestine,” he said.
The Palestinian Centre for Human Rights say they are angry about Israeli forces killing two of the young Palestinians.
Israeli military officials said troops fatally shot the two after they tried to stab an Israel Defense Forces soldier who was on routine patrol southeast of Nablus.
But Palestinian sources said the two were innocent farm workers.
The head of the Palestinian medical relief services for the district of Nablus, Dr. Ghassan Hamadan, said the two Palestinians were both shot in the back. One had four gunshot wounds in the back and one in the shoulder, he said. It was reported the two victims were shot hours after the rioting calmed down, as they got off a minibus.
Palestinian Prime Minster Salam Fayyad “strongly condemned” what he called “the Israeli military escalation.”
More than a week of violence in east Jerusalem has coincided with the worst U.S.- Israeli diplomatic relations in decades, which erupted after Israel announced new plans to build 1,600 apartments in east Jerusalem during Vice-President Joe Biden’s visit.