A Palestinian grieves next to the body of 23-year-old Muataz Hussein Hilal Bani Shamsa
RAMALLAH (Ma’an) — The Palestinian Ministry of Information urged international legal organizations to intervene and prosecute the Israeli settler who shot and killed 23-year-old Muataz Bani Shamsa in the northern occupied West Bank district of Nablus on Thursday and another settler who distributed candyfollowing the incident, according to a statement released on Friday.
The ministry said in the statement that the Israeli settler’s behavior distributing candy in celebration of the killing was “proof of the racism, hatred, and extremism of the Israeli people,” adding that the incident represented a “loud cry” to the United Nations to provide protection to the Palestinian people.
The ministry added that what happened in Huwwara was a “double crime,” which began with the killing of Shamsa in “cold blood” and proceeded with the “targeting” of a Palestinian journalist with a live bullet.
This “proved the racism of Israeli forces who provide protection for Israeli settlers while they carry out their crimes (against Palestinians),” the statement said.
However, the ministry did not mention in their statement what international legal organizations they expected to intervene in the prosecution of the settler.
The Israeli settler, who has not been identified, stepped out of his vehicle on Thursday — amid clashes between Palestinians and Israeli forces following the suppression of a solidarity march near Huwwara in support of the some 1,300 Palestinians currently on a mass hunger strike
across Israeli prisons — and shot Shamsa in the head, killing him, while injuring Palestinian journalist Majdi Eshtayya.
Hours after the shooting, Israeli news daily Haaretz reported that the settler was not being investigated by Israeli police
as a criminal suspect, and had instead filed a criminal complaint against the Palestinian protesters, who the settler said were attempting to “lynch” him.
The Huwwara village is located near the notoriously right-wing Yitzhar settlement, whose residents have escalated their attacks on neighboring Palestinian villages in recent weeks.
While Palestinian leaders have often demanded international protection from the UN against Israeli forces and settlers, scores of Palestinian villages around illegal Israeli settlements have resorted to self-organizing community patrols
to protect villages from settler attacks, as Palestinian authorities have failed to provide any protection to the residents.
Following the deadly shooting on Thursday, UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process Nickolay Mladenov released a statement, saying he condemned the attack, and that “this deplorable incident must be promptly and thoroughly investigated and all suspected of being involved must be prosecuted.”
Despite Mladenov’s call for a swift investigation into the shooting, Palestinian activists and rights groups have long accused Israel of fostering a “culture of impunity”
for Israeli settlers and soldiers committing violent acts against Palestinians.
In March, Israeli NGO Yesh Din revealed that Israeli authorities served indictments in only 8.2 percent of cases of Israeli settlers committing anti-Palestinian crimes in the occupied West Bank in the past three years.
Between 500,000 and 600,000 Israelis live in Jewish-only settlements across occupied East Jerusalem and the West Bank in violation of international law, with announcements of settlement expansion earlier this year sparking condemnation from the international community.
According to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), there were a total of 107 reported settler attacks against Palestinians and their properties in the West Bank and occupied East Jerusalem in 2016, with 50 attacks so far being reported since the start of 2017.