On Sunday, two Israeli settlers were shot dead by a Palestinian gunman along a highway in the northern occupied West Bank. The incident led to retaliatory attacks by Israeli settlers against Palestinian villages in the region. One Palestinian man died, and over 100 others were injured in the violence that took place near Nablus. The Israeli military deployed additional troops to search for the Palestinian gunman who carried out the attack on the two Israelis.
Videos posted online showed a large crowd of Israeli settlers entering the village of Hawara, about 4 miles south of Nablus, lighting fires and throwing stones. Palestinian official Ghassan Daghlas said 30 houses were damaged, and 15 vehicles were torched by the settlers in Hawara. Settlers also set a barn and three vehicles on fire in nearby Burin, as well as a house and a water tank in Asira al-Qabaliyya. One Palestinian man was shot in the stomach during an attack by settlers in Zaatara and later died.
Responsibility for the Security of West Bank Palestinians Rests with Israel
The incident took place after a summit in Jordan in which Israeli and Palestinian officials pledged to de-escalate tensions. Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has held the Israeli government responsible for the “terrorist acts carried out by Israeli settlers, under the protection of the Israeli occupation forces.” Israel’s Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, appealed for calm and urged settlers not to take the law into their hands.
The United Nations Middle East envoy Tor Wennesland expressed grave concern about the deteriorating security situation and called for an end to terrorism and acts of revenge against civilians. The international community regards Israeli settlements in the West Bank as illegal under international law, while Israel disputes this. Over 600,000 Jews live in 140 settlements built since Israel’s occupation of the West Bank and East Jerusalem in the 1967 Middle East war.
The violent attacks carried out by Israeli settlers in the West Bank after the killing of two Israelis by a Palestinian gunman have led to the death of one Palestinian and the injury of many others. Responsibility for the safety and security of Palestinians living in the West Bank rests with the Israeli government, which must take steps to prevent retaliatory violence by Israeli settlers against Palestinian villages. The international community has called for an end to terrorism and acts of revenge against civilians in the region.