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Monday, 12 April 2021

Itamar perpetrator unconfirmed, settlers bulldoze and expand

Israeli authorities use the slaying of a settler family to expand illegal colonies as Palestinian land is targeted by reprisal attacks

Ahram Online , Tuesday 15 Mar 2011
Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman, center, visits the house of the Fogel family, background, in the illegal West Bank settlement of Itamar, near Nablus, Tuesday, (AP).
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Mobile homes were installed 500 metres outside the designated boundary of the Itamar Israeli ‎colony near Nablus on Tuesday morning as settlers installed an illegal outpost in memory of ‎Israeli family members slain Saturday, a Palestinian news agency reported. ‎

Investigators have questioned Thai workers in the Itamar colony in relation to the killings of ‎five members of an Israeli family, Ma’an news agency said Monday.‎

The murder of five members of the Fogel family, including a baby and two ‎children, was taken as an excuse to expand illegal settlement building on Palestinian land ‎as well launch a campaign against Palestinian citizens in neighboring villages in what some ‎officials have called collective punishment. ‎

The settlers placed their mobile homes on privately owned land of Awarta’s Palestinians, ‎the village closest to Itamar, village council chief Qays Awwad told Ma’an.‎ The city of Awarta remains under military lockdown.‎

Settlers were also reportedly using bulldozers on lands owned by citizens of Nablus. ‎Israel’s civil administration failed to comment on the subject.‎

This comes after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu approved the building of 500 illegal ‎settler houses in retaliation for the murders.‎

Israel has put its press under gag order and prohibited the publication of information about the ‎investigation of the murders, which Israeli officials alleged were committed by at least one ‎Palestinian militant as a "terrorist attack", Ma’an reports. ‎

‎"The direction that's being examined, in general, is a terrorist attack," police spokesman Micky ‎Rosenfeld told AFP.‎

No Palestinian faction claimed responsibility for the attack nor was ‎any evidence made public by the Israelis pointing towards a particularly "Palestinian" act of ‎terrorism.‎

Regardless of who carried out the attack or why, Israeli police instantly declared they were on ‎the hunt for a Palestinian.‎ Palestinian security sources told AFP that Israeli soldiers in jeeps had deployed in the ‎sector, sending ambulances to the scene, and said an army helicopter was flying over ‎the area of the attack.‎

Tensions between Palestinians and Israeli's colonizing in the area have been ‎extremely high in recent days with the Itmar colony is known to harbour some of the most extremist settlers.‎

On Monday, Israeli soldiers fired live rounds at Palestinians after they clashed with ‎Israeli settlers near Nablus.‎ Ten Palestinians and an Israeli settler were wounded during the violence, according to ‎Palestinian medical sources and a spokesman for the settlers.‎

A week earlier, following scruffles with Israeli police, settlers firebombed a house in ‎Huwarra village, which saw two Palestinian children taken to hospital for smoke ‎inhalation.‎

They also smashed up shops and cars in the southern city of Hebron and settlers also ‎cut down 500 olive tree saplings, a practice quite common near settler colonies.‎

The settlers routinely react when police and soldiers demolish structures in ‎settlements or wildcat settlement outposts in what are known as "price tag" attacks, ‎which almost always target Palestinians.‎

This violence against the indiginous population is common and claims to counter what ‎the settlers refer to as "anti-settler" activity by the Israeli government.‎

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Tuesday told hardline settlers that such ‎attacks were unacceptable.‎

The international community considers Israeli settlements built in the West Bank and ‎east Jerusalem as illegal, and 14 of the 15 members of the UN Security Council last ‎month backed a resolution condemning the Israeli entity for continuing settlement ‎activity.‎

The United States vetoed the resolution, saying it did not think the United Nations was ‎the appropriate forum to address the issue, but noted its opposition to Israeli ‎settlement building.‎

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