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Israel-Hamas war: ‘I stopped counting after the ninth person was shot in front of us’ | World News


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I stopped counting after the ninth person was shot in front of us on another day of protests in the West Bank.

It was clearly a tactic by the Israel Defence Forces (IDF) to send a message – to the usual suspects who regularly hurl rocks at their vehicles and security posts – that today they weren’t going to mess around.

Even as we pulled up and put our protective equipment on, I could hear the first rounds being fired.

At that stage the road was pretty empty, there were just a few youngsters getting ready for the almost daily theatre of rock throwing followed by live fire shooting.

Still from Stuart Ramsay report from the West Bank October 20 2023. Protesters take cover
A man takes cover in the smoke

The most remarkable thing to me – and I’ve reported on riots and violent protests all over the world for decades – is that everyone getting ready for this exchange of rocks and bullets knows exactly what is going to happen.

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The teenagers will set tyres on fire and use slings to throw stones, and the IDF will shoot them.

Today it was mainly in the legs – on other days it’s been in the head and the chest.

I just cannot understand why anyone thinks risking one’s life to throw a stone that mainly can’t, and certainly won’t reach the target, is a good idea.

But they do, I’ve watched them, and they have done this for generations.

I very much doubt there is a better example of the cycle of violence that has overwhelmed the Middle East for decades.

And how so often it is utterly futile, and unproductive.

Still from Stuart Ramsay report from the West Bank October 20 2023. Israeli snipers
Israeli snipers

My cameraman Toby Nash filmed as three youths used the burnt-out hulk of a truck for cover – and to get a better angle to hurl stones.

They go forward, a sniper shoots. The injured man is helped away from the firing line, and an ambulance screeches in to pick him up.

We then watch on as another teenager at the front takes another tyre to make more smoke to cover their movements.

He skips as he crosses back, trying to outwit the snipers.

What he doesn’t know is they have another target, who had come forward from another angle.

But he didn’t get very far, he too was shot.

The ambulance crews move in.

Across the road people take cover at a petrol station, it’s where dozens come to watch all this, often with their children.

Suddenly another round is fired – this time two or three people are hit by the sniper, with the same bullet.

They weren’t even throwing stones; they were just standing watching.

Away from the violence at the check point, the streets of Ramallah echoed with echo the chants of people protesting against the actions of Israel here and in Gaza.

Still from Stuart Ramsay report from the West Bank October 20 2023
Two boys protesting attacks on civilians

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They’re also protesting against the countries who have given their support to Israel.

The United States and Britain are at the top of the list.

I met Palestinian activist Jamal Jomaa in the crowd. He told me this has been going on too long.

“Since 75 years we are fighting for our simple rights, like any other people in the world to have, to live in peace in our state and we didn’t find this.

“Now it’s ended up like this and it’s supported by Americans, Europeans, this is unacceptable for Palestinians,” he said.

Still from Stuart Ramsay report from the West Bank October 20 2023. Palestinian activist Jamal Jomaa
Palestinian activist Jamal Jomaa

He continued: “You hear the people here – it’s become more clear our enemy is not just Israel, our enemy is the United States government, not people, we are appreciating every single voice that came out, especially Jewish voice for peace and all these Jewish voices standing up and saying don’t do this massacre in our names.

“These are our allies, these are the people we are allies with, not with Biden and his racist government, not with Sunak. All of them came to support genocide in Gaza. This is a shame, they should feel ashamed of themselves.”

The city centre came to a standstill. Men, women and children joined the procession as it made its way through the streets.

Many here believe Israeli soldiers will move into Gaza; all acknowledge it will lead to more violence both here in the West Bank and further afield.

Still from Stuart Ramsay report from the West Bank October 20 2023.
A man and young boy wear matching patriotic T-shirts in the West Bank

A solution is desperately needed.

Also in the crowd is Bassam Al-Salhi, a member of the Palestinian Legislative Council.

He told me he has concerns that Israel is committing war crimes with the full support of the US, UK, France, and “all countries who came to support Israel in their war against Palestinians”.

“What we need from all of the people now is to stop this aggression against Palestinians and go through a serious process to end the occupation and implement United Nations resolutions,” he said.

The cycle of protest and violence continues. The flaming anger of Palestinians in the Arab world is burning brighter by the day.

The make-up of the crowd is always interesting – at the front there are men, in the middle there are families, and then, having decided to walk together, are groups of women.

Still from Stuart Ramsay report from the West Bank October 20 2023. Sky speaks to a protester
A female protester speaks to Sky’s Stuart Ramsay

Among them was a woman who didn’t want to be named, but she agreed to speak to me about her fears.

Her anger was so passionate – and to me represented the ordinary Palestinians who aren’t involved in politics or armed resistance.

“I’ve lived all my life under occupation, now I am fearful for my children, for my co-workers,” she told me.

“I mean, this government has all the Palestinians, five million Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza, under its complete control. We are civilians, and they have the best weapons in the world to do whatever they want.”

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Written by: radioroxi

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