Israeli troops killed three Palestinians and wounded several others in a raid near Jerusalem. Younis Jahjouh, Jihad Aslan, and Robin Zayed were shot dead during the raid Monday morning at the Qalandia refugee camp.
The United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) confirmed that Zayed, a 34-year-old father of four, was a staff member at UNRWA. According to a senior UN official, Zayed was unarmed and did not engage in any violence when he was shot dead on Monday.
Violent raids like this one are a routine matter in the West Bank. Just last week Majd Lahlouh, 22, was killed after being shot in the heart with an expanding bullet by Israeli forces in the Jenin refugee camp. In July, Israeli forces shot dead 19-year-old Muataz Sharawneh in a night raid in the southern West Bank town of Dura. Up until Sunday, 297 raids were carried out in West Bank in August, following 364 raids in July. From the beginning of this year until the end of July a total of 3,268 raids were carried out by Israeli forces and 6,193 raids were carried out in 2012.
The violent raids in the West Bank reveal Israel's mendacious promises about a commitment to peace and demonstrate an incommensurate use of force against the Palestinians.
The last thing a country should do to demonstrate a sincerity to peace negotiations is kill three unarmed non-violent Palestinians as Israeli forces did on Monday. Riyad al-Malki, the Palestinian foreign minister, said that this most recent violent raid will "have an effect" on peace negotiations, and he was right. Palestinian negotiators have canceled planned peace talks in protest of Monday's raid at the Qalandia refugee camp.
Military spokesman, Peter Lerner, said the Israeli forces had "no other choice but to resort to live fire in self-defense." But according to eyewitnesses interviewed by UNRWA, the Israeli forces randomly opened fire on Palestinians and shot at windows of homes that opened during the clashes. One witness speaking of Robin Al-Abed Zayed said "He was not throwing stones. The soldiers opened the back door of their jeep and shot him in the chest. The bullet came out of his back and he was puking blood. I called an ambulance, but it was prevented from entering the camp."
Monday's raid "illustrates the overwhelming and disproportionate use of force" by Israeli security forced in the occupied Palestinian territories, said a senior UN official. The recent deaths bring the total of Palestinians killed by Israeli forces this year to 14. A member of the Palestinian negotiating committee, Hanan Ashrawi, said in a statement: "Israel's use of excessive and indiscriminate violence and live ammunition in densely populated civilian areas represents a blatant violation of international and humanitarian law."
Time and time again, Israel has proved a lack of commitment to peace talks with the Palestinians. Whether it be forced evictions via home demolitions, settlement expansion plans, or violent night raids, Israel has continually destroyed an efforts of a peaceful solution to the conflict. Their disproportionate and excessive use of force in the occupied Palestinian territories helps to reinforce and maintain their control while destroying any chances of creating a sovereign Palestinian state. The international community must hold Israel accountable for their human rights violations and contravention of international law otherwise a solution to the Palestinian Israeli conflict will never be achieved.