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Palestinian Baby Becomes Youngest Victim of Mideast Violence

  • VOA News

An Israeli officer inspects the body of a Palestinian man at a checkpoint near Nablus, Oct. 30, 2015. Israeli police said two Palestinians ran toward the checkpoint with knives in their hands, drawing Israeli fire that killed one and wounded the other.

An Israeli officer inspects the body of a Palestinian man at a checkpoint near Nablus, Oct. 30, 2015. Israeli police said two Palestinians ran toward the checkpoint with knives in their hands, drawing Israeli fire that killed one and wounded the other.

A Palestinian baby has become the youngest known victim of the current wave of Israeli-Palestinian violence.

Palestinian authorities said 8-month-old Ramadan Thawabteh was suffocated Friday by tear gas fired by Israeli soldiers during a Palestinian protest in Bethlehem. It was unclear whether the tear gas canister was fired directly into his house or the gas seeped in from the outside.

Palestinian protesters fought with Israeli police outside Ramallah on Friday, and police fired rubber bullets and tear gas at hundreds of youths who burned tires and threw stones and firebombs during a separate protest in Hebron.

Earlier Friday, one Palestinian was killed and another was wounded during a knife attack on Israeli police near Hebron. Security forces also shot dead a Palestinian who had stabbed and wounded an American man near a Jerusalem rail station.

Rumors that Israel plans to take over an East Jerusalem holy site revered by Muslims and Jews has been at the center of a month of violence that has left 11 Israelis and 65 Palestinians dead. Most of the Palestinians were killed while attacking or attempting to stab or shoot Israeli civilians, police or soldiers.

Israel has consistently denied the rumors about the holy site and accuses Palestinian leaders of inciting young people to violence.

Many Palestinians are fed up with the lack of economic opportunity, the dim outlook for peace and Jewish settlement in lands they want for a future state.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has said he is willing to talk with the Palestinians. But he says there can be no peace until the Palestinians recognize Israel's right to exist.

Plea to criminal court

The Palestinians on Friday handed a fresh dossier of evidence to the International Criminal Court in an attempt to get the war crimes tribunal to expand its existing probe of last year's Gaza conflict to include the surge in violence of the past month.

Emerging from the court at The Hague, Foreign Minister Riyad al-Maliki said the new dossier, the third he has submitted this year, contained evidence of "extrajudicial killing, home demolition and collective punishment."

"[We took] also examples of cases that have really occurred in the last 40 days of Israeli aggression against innocent Palestinians around occupied territory," he told reporters after a meeting with prosecutor Fatou Bensouda.

The Palestinian Authority joined the ICC at the beginning of this year, over the protests of Israel, the United States and most of the court's European backers, who have said legal action in The Hague risks delaying the course of peace.

Israel, which is not a member of the court, has declined to cooperate with both this and a previous probe relating to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, arguing that Palestine is not a state and therefore has no right to join.

Prosecutors earlier this year opened a preliminary probe of alleged crimes committed on both sides of the Gaza conflict, but with all accessible gateways to Gaza controlled by Israel, Hague officials have not yet visited the scene of the alleged crimes.

"They promised that they would continue their efforts to get approval ... for a visit. We have already responded positively and we are still waiting for the same from the Israeli side," Maliki said.

But while this week's visit to The Hague by Maliki, President Mahmoud Abbas and Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah appeared designed to sharpen the focus on the court at a time of increased Israeli-Palsetinian violence, the Palestinian Authority has little influence over the progress of the probe.

The court's preliminary examinations, designed to establish whether crimes within its jurisdiction may have been committed, are long, drawn-out affairs, carried out independently by the court's prosecutors.

Some information for this report came from Reuters.

Israeli police secure the scene of a stabbing in Jerusalem, Oct. 30, 2015.

Israeli police secure the scene of a stabbing in Jerusalem, Oct. 30, 2015.

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