Four Palestinians, including a local election candidate, were killed in a shooting attack on Tuesday evening in an agricultural area in Abu Snan, an occupied Palestinian village in western Galilee. The attack is the latest in a series of violent attacks that have been targeting the Palestinian community in lands occupied by Israel in 1948.
According to witnesses, the four victims were on farmland with a friend when a masked gunman arrived and opened fire at them at point-blank range. Medics who arrived at the scene tried to resuscitate them, but they were pronounced dead on the spot. The victims were identified as Gazi Saab, 53, who was running for the local council elections, and three other men aged between 30 and 50.
Saab had recently posted on his Facebook account, calling for an end to the violence and crime that have affected the Palestinian villages. “Stop the violence, we are very sad about what is happening in our country. I appeal to you, do not act violently because there is no reason to kill, there are other ways to cope. We hope the violence will disappear from our villages,” he wrote.
The shooting came less than a day after another deadly incident in Abu Snan, where the municipality’s director-general, Abdel Rahman Kashua, was murdered in a shooting in the city. Kashua was also a prominent figure in the local community and had been involved in various social and cultural projects.
The Palestinian community in lands occupied by Israel in 1948 has been suffering from a surge of targeted violence and crime in recent years, with little intervention or protection from the Israeli occupation authorities. According to statistics compiled by Palestinian human rights groups, 158 Palestinians have been killed since the beginning of 2023, most of them as a result of shootings. This is more than double the number of victims in the same period last year, which was 68 (111 for the entire year). If the current trend continues, the number of Palestinian victims in 2023 will surpass 200, setting a new record of bloodshed.
Palestinians in 1948 lands live in a state of fear and anxiety, as shootings and other violent acts have become a daily occurrence. Many of them blame the Israeli occupation for creating a situation of lawlessness and discrimination that allows criminals to operate with impunity. They also accuse the Israeli occupation forces of failing to protect them and enforce the law.