Monday, February 27, 2023

Following the killing of two Palestinians, Israeli settlers go on the rampage

Israeli settlers rampage after Palestinian gunman kills 2



JERUSALEM: After a Palestinian gunman killed two Israeli settlers, scores of settlers went on a violent rampage in the northern West Bank late Sunday, setting dozens of cars and homes on fire. In what appeared to be the worst outburst of settler violence in decades, Palestinian medical personnel reported that one man had been killed and four others had suffered severe injuries.

The lethal shooting, trailed by the late-night frenzy, promptly raised questions about Jordan's statement that Israeli and Palestinian authorities had promised to quiet an extended flood of viciousness.

According to Palestinian media, thirty cars and homes were set on fire. On social media, large fires were visible burning across the town of Hawara, which was the scene of the fatal shooting earlier in the day, and lighting up the sky.

A group of Jewish settlers praying stood in front of a burning building in one video. Additionally, a prominent settler leader and minister in the Israeli Cabinet had earlier urged Israel to strike "without mercy."

The Palestinian Health Ministry reported late on Sunday that Israeli fire had resulted in the death of a 37-year-old man. A third person was stabbed, a fourth person was beaten with an iron bar, according to the Palestinian Red Crescent medical service. 95 additional people were receiving treatment for tear gas inhalation.

“The terrorist acts carried out by settlers under the protection of the occupation forces tonight,” said Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.

He added, "We hold the Israeli government fully responsible."

“Authorities on all sides must intervene now to stop this endless cycle of violence,” the European Union said of the violence in Huwara. "Israel should tackle settler violence, with those responsible brought to justice," stated Neil Wigan, the British ambassador to Israel.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu pleaded for restraint and cautioned against vigilante violence as surveillance footage of the violence surfaced on evening news programs. In a video statement, Netanyahu requested, "Don't take the law into your hands when blood is boiling and the spirit is hot."

The Israeli military claimed that Lieutenant He rushed to the scene, Gen. Herzl Halevi. It stated that troops were receiving additional support in the region as they attempted to restore order and locate the shooter.

Palestinian official Ghassan Douglas keeps an eye on Israeli settlements in the Nablus area. said that in Hawara, settlers set fire to at least six homes and dozens of cars and reported attacking other Palestinian villages nearby. He estimated that the attack involved around 400 Jewish settlers.

He stated, "I never witnessed such an attack."

The shooting spree took place shortly after the Jordanian government, which hosted the talks on Sunday in the Red Sea resort of Aqaba, announced that the parties had agreed to take steps to reduce tensions and would meet again next month in advance of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.

The Jordanian Foreign Ministry made the announcement, "They reaffirmed the necessity of committing to de-escalation on the ground and to prevent further violence."

The Jordanian announcement was a small sign of progress after nearly a year of fighting in the West Bank and east Jerusalem that killed over 200 Palestinians and over 40 Israelis. However, the situation on the ground immediately cast doubt on these commitments.

The Palestinians want to establish a state in the West Bank, east Jerusalem, and Gaza Strip, which Israel took during the 1967 Mideast War. The West Bank and east Jerusalem are home to approximately 700,000 Israeli settlers. The majority of the international community believes that the settlements are illegal and pose a threat to peace.

There are a number of strict settlements in the West Bank whose residents frequently damage Palestinian property and land. However, the violence is rarely so widespread.

Israel's far-right government's prominent members called for tough action against the Palestinians.

“Striking the cities of terror and its instigators without mercy, with tanks and helicopters,” said Israeli Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich, a settler leader who lives in the area and is in charge of a lot of Israel's West Bank policy.

He said Israel should act "in a way that conveys that the master of the house has gone crazy," using a phrase that calls for a more severe response.

Smotrich, on the other hand, appealed to his fellow settlers to let the government and the army do their jobs. He stated, "It is forbidden to subvert the law and create dangerous anarchy that could spiral out of control and cost lives."

A bill that would impose the death penalty on Palestinians convicted of homicide earlier received initial approval from an Israeli ministerial committee. Legislators received the measure for further consideration.

Additionally, the precise terms of the agreement reached in Aqaba between Israelis and Palestinians were misunderstood.

According to the Jordanian Foreign Ministry, the representatives had pledged to maintain the status quo at the disputed holy site in Jerusalem and to work toward a "just and lasting peace."

During Ramadan two years ago, tensions at the location referred to by Jews as the Temple Mount and Muslims as the Haram al-Sharif sparked an 11-day war between Israel and the Hamas militant group.

The meeting on Sunday was downplayed by officials in Israel's government, which is the most right-wing in Israeli history.

Under the guidelines of the government, a senior official spoke on condition of anonymity, stating only that the parties in Jordan agreed to form a committee to work on renewing security ties with the Palestinians. Following a deadly Israeli military raid in the West Bank last month, the Palestinians severed all ties with Israel.

Tzachi Hanegbi, the Israeli delegation's national security adviser, stated that Israeli policies had "no changed" and that plans to build thousands of new settlement homes that had been approved last week would not be affected.

He stated that "there is no restriction on army activity" and "there is no settlement freeze."

Israel had promised not to legalize any additional outposts for six months and not to approve any new construction in existing settlements for four months, according to the Jordanian announcement.

In the meantime, the Palestinians claimed that they had presented a lengthy list of complaints, some of which included a halt to Israeli military raids on Palestinian towns and the construction of Israeli settlements on occupied land.

The shooting on Sunday occurred just a few days after an Israeli military raid in the nearby city of Nablus resulted in the deaths of ten Palestinians. On a major highway that serves both Palestinians and Israeli settlers, the shooting took place. Two brothers, aged 21 and 19, from the Jewish community of Har Bracha, were identified as the victims.

The head of Israel's domestic security agency, Shin Bet, attended the talks in Jordan with Hanegbi. Additionally, advisers to President Mahmoud Abbas as well as the head of the Palestinian intelligence services joined.

The discussions were led by Jordan's King Abdullah II, who has close ties to the Palestinians. Egypt, another mediator, and the United States also participated.

Jake Sullivan, the U.S. national security adviser, welcomed the meeting in Washington. He stated, "We recognize that this meeting was a starting point," and added, "Implementation will be crucial."

It was a rare high-level meeting between the sides, showing how serious the crisis is and how worried people are about more violence as Ramadan nears at the end of March.

Hamas, an Islamic militant group that wants to destroy Israel, criticized the meeting on Sunday in Gaza and described the shooting as a "natural response" to Israeli incursions in the West Bank.

In 2005, Israel withdrew from Gaza. The territory was then taken over by the Hamas militant group, and Israel and Egypt continue to blockade it.

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