By Laura Zuber
Impunity Watch Reporter, Middle East
HEBRON, West Bank – On November 28, thousands of members from Hamas and the Islamic fundamentalist Hizb al-Tahrir (Party of Liberation) attended the funeral of Hisham al-Baradi in Hebron. Baradi, a member of the Party of Liberation, was killed at an anti-Annapolis demonstration on November 27. Demonstrators claim that Baradi’s death was caused by gun fire from the Palestinian Authority security forces. However, the police deny these allegations.
There are also reports that Palestinian Authority security forces used excessive force against Palestinians journalists during the rallies against the Annapolis conference. There are claims that reporters were beaten and/or otherwise prevented from covering the demonstrations. In addition, prior the conference, Abbas banned the occurrence of any demonstration against Annapolis. Members of Hamas and other groups who disagree with the talks in Annapolis accuse Abbas prohibiting dissent.
At the funeral, violence erupted when the funeral procession developed into another anti-Annapolis demonstration. Hamas and Party of Liberation members began fighting with members of the Palestinian Authority security forces when the marchers diverted from the pre-planned route and started hurling stones and bottles at the police. The security forces responded by firing live ammunition in the air and by hitting demonstrators with batons. Over 300 members of the security force were deployed to Hebron, specifically for the purpose of containing any demonstration stemming from the funeral.
Medics at near by hospitals report treating at least one serious gun shot injury, involving a man who was shot in the neck. In addition, an estimated 20 to 60 people were treated with less serious injuries. This number includes both demonstrators as well as police officers. There are also reports of report that dozens of demonstrators were arrested by the police.
On November 29, Hamas warned that since Israeli missile attacks have killed 12 militants since November 25, that “all options were open to the Islamists against Israel.” The Israeli military claims that the most the recent air strikes occurred in Gaza and targeted militants.
For more information, please see:
AFP – All options open against Israel after peace meet: Hamas – 29 November 2007
Independent – Abbas loyalists open fire at funeral march, injuring 26 – 29 November 2007
BBC – Dozens hurt in Mid-East protest – 28 November 2007
Jerusalem Post – At least 60 injured in Fatah-Hamas clashes – 28 November 2007
New York Times – Bush promotes Middle East peace dialogue – 28 November 2007
Reuters – Palestinian security men open fire at W.Bank funeral – 28 November 2007
International Herald Tribune – Palestinian protester killed in West Bank – 27 November 2007