Israeli settlers attack Palestinians across West Bank


JERUSALEM – A Palestinian man was killed Saturday night near a West Bank settlement, according to Palestinian media reports, amid nearly 150 settler attacks against Palestinians in the occupied territories.

The Palestinian man killed late on Saturday was seen outside the northern West Bank settlement of Kdumim “with a pistol … and was subdued by the community’s civilian security team,” the Israeli military said. The official Palestinian news agency Wafa confirmed the name. The man was identified as Karam Ali Salman, 18, a resident of the village of Qusin near the northern West Bank city of Nablus. He was shot dead by an armed Israeli settler under “unspecified” circumstances, the report said.

Another Palestinian man, Omar Tareq Saadi, 24, also died on Sunday from injuries sustained during Thursday’s Israeli military attack on the Jenin refugee camp, according to the Palestinian Health Ministry. Nine more Palestinians were killed in the early morning raid, the deadliest in 20 years, according to Palestinian officials.

Vafa says At least 144 attacks by Israeli settlers were reported on Saturday in the West Bank, the occupied territory Palestinians envision as part of their future state. In Masafer Yatta in the south, settlers attacked a Palestinian man; in two villages near Ramallah, Masked assailants burned houses and cars and threw stones; in Nablus, settlers uprooted nearly 200 trees. Outside the northern village of Akraba, dozens of settlers established a new, unauthorized outpost before attacking Palestinian landowners who arrived on the scene and wounding one who was there to help the wounded, according to Israeli human rights group Yesh Din. of medical staff. The report added that the Israeli military did not intervene.

Palestinian official Ghassan Daghlas said there had been “an unprecedented increase in the frequency of terrorist attacks targeting Palestinian citizens and their property”.

Earlier Sunday, Israeli security forces cordoned off the home of the Palestinian accused who shot dead seven people outside a synagogue in East Jerusalem on Friday night. Authorities have promised that the house will be demolished soon.

At an emergency cabinet meeting on Saturday night, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said: “Our response will be strong, fast and precise. Whoever tries to harm us, we will harm them and anyone who helps them .”

Israeli police said they had arrested at least 42 people in connection with Friday’s shooting, including the suspect’s immediate family, as they stepped up police presence across East Jerusalem and the West Bank to prevent further violence.

The second attack occurred on Saturday in an Israeli settlement in East Jerusalem outside the Old City walls when a 13-year-old Palestinian from a nearby neighborhood shot and wounded two Israelis. According to Israeli police, the boy was arrested at the scene by an armed civilian.

Netanyahu’s new government, the most right-wing in Israel’s history, is made up of a coalition of settler activists and ultranationalists who say past efforts to combat Palestinian violence have not been strong enough.

On Saturday, Israeli authorities announced new counterterrorism proposals, increased support for Jewish settlements in the occupied West Bank and eased restrictions on civilian gun ownership — without ordering retaliatory military strikes.

At a government meeting on Sunday, far-right National Security Minister Itamar bin Gvir demanded that the government should approve the establishment of seven illegal settlements in the West Bank within seven days, Israel’s Channel 12 news reported. In exchange for Friday’s seven deaths.

Israeli attacks on the West Bank have escalated dramatically over the past year, making 2022 the deadliest year for Palestinian deaths there since the United Nations began systematically tracking deaths in 2005. The death toll of Palestinians killed this year has risen to at least 30 following the Jenin attack, according to the Palestinian health ministry.

The violence coincided with a pre-arranged visit to the region by U.S. officials who have been warning of an escalation in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict for weeks. Secretary of State Anthony Blinken’s scheduled visit on Monday and Tuesday will include meetings with Netanyahu in Israel and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas in the West Bank, the State Department said.

U.S. administration officials scrambled to find ways to avoid dealing directly with far-right Israeli ministers, including Ben Gvir, who was repeatedly convicted of inciting anti-Arab hatred and rose from the political fringes to become national security minister, promising to execute Palestinian terrorists , and allowed Israeli soldiers to shoot at stone-throwing Palestinians.

On Saturday, Ben Gvir announced anti-terrorism measures. This is in line with Israel’s previous response to the Palestinian attacks and has been criticized by human rights groups as “collective punishment”.

A small group of Israeli protesters gathered near an intersection leading into a Palestinian neighborhood in East Jerusalem late Saturday. One of the young men said they wanted to “let the terrorists know we are here”.

As they began to surround a car, police shouted at the driver, who appeared to be Palestinian, to roll up the windows and move on. Police then pushed the crowd away while banging on vehicles. A man holds up a sign in Hebrew that reads “Revenge!”

Ayreh Blumberg, 66, a plumber in the nearby Ma’ale Adumim settlement who took part in the demonstrations, said anyone supporting the Palestinian attackers, including family members, should be deported.

“I think they deserve a one-way ticket out of Israel,” he said.

Netanyahu has said he and his Likud lawmakers will restrain right-wing members of his coalition.

But Ben Gvir is under pressure from his supporters to do more. When he visited the scene of the shooting Friday, residents yelled at him: “This is happening on your watch! What are you going to do?”

After Saturday’s cabinet meeting, he praised the swift preparations to demolish the suspected shooter’s home, saying “the speed of the blockade sent a message to the enemy”.

Asher Natan, 14, one of the victims of Friday’s shooting near the synagogue, was buried late Saturday night on Jerusalem’s Mount of Olives.

Also killed were Eli and Natalie Mizrahi, a married couple in their 40s who were buried side by side in a hilltop cemetery in the Israeli city of Beit Shemesh early Sunday morning.

Eli’s father, Shimon, told reporters near the scene of the shooting that they left Friday night’s dinner to go to help after hearing gunshots in the street.

At the funeral, several mourners said their deaths were part of Israel’s larger divine plan. One mourner read: “Of course, anyone who is murdered in the name of God, if he is murdered by Palestinians, it is definitely in the name of God, then there is a purpose to this terrible tragedy.”

“The terrorist came to the synagogue knowing he was going to kill the Jews just because they were Jews,” said Israeli Economy Minister Neil Barkat during the 2015-2016 uprising, marked by a wave of Palestinian stabbings.

He was interrupted by Eli Mizrahi’s sister, who yelled, “Get out of here. You’re saying that because there’s media here. You’re putting on a show!”

According to Israeli and Palestinian media reports, the suspect in the shooting has been identified as Khairi Alqam, a 21-year-old Palestinian from the A-Tur neighborhood of East Jerusalem. Alqam was named after his grandfather, who was stabbed to death by a Jewish assailant in 1998, Israeli news site Ynet reported. Among those arrested on suspicion of carrying out the attack was Chaim Perlman, a member of the violent anti-Arab Kahana Chai movement, who was detained for a month in 2010. After his release, security forces banned Perlman from contacting several right-wing activists, including former Kahanist Ben Gvir.

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