Israeli settlers rampage after Palestinian gunman kills 2

AP , Ahram Online , Sunday 26 Feb 2023

After two settlers were killed by a Palestinian gunman, scores of Israeli settlers went on a violent rampage in the northern West Bank late Sunday, torching cars and homes. According to Palestinian medics, dozens of people were injured.

Israeli armed settlers
Settlers from the Israeli Bracha settlement set fire to cars in the Palestinian Burin village in the occupied West Bank on February 25, 2023. AFP


The deadly shooting, followed by the late-night rampage, immediately raised doubts about Jordan's declaration that it had received pledges from Israeli and Palestinian officials to calm a year-long wave of violence.

Photos and video on social media showed large fires burning throughout the town of Hawara — the scene of the deadly shooting earlier in the day.

In one video, crowds of Israeli settlers could be heard reciting the Jewish prayer for the dead as they stared at a building in flames. And earlier, a prominent Israeli Cabinet minister and settler leader had called for Israel to strike “without mercy.”

Palestinian media said at least 20 vehicles and buildings were torched, and the Palestinian Red Crescent reported over 100 wounded.

The Israeli occupation military said its chief of staff, Lt. Gen. Herzl Halevi, was rushing to the scene and that forces were trying to restore order.

The rampage occurred shortly after the Jordanian government, which hosted Sunday’s talks at the Red Sea resort of Aqaba, said the sides had agreed to take steps to de-escalate tensions and would meet again next month ahead of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.

“They reaffirmed the necessity of committing to de-escalation on the ground and to prevent further violence,” the Jordanian Foreign Ministry announced.

After nearly a year of fighting that has killed 224 Palestinians in the West Bank and east Jerusalem, the Jordanian announcement marked a small sign of progress. But the situation on the ground immediately cast those commitments into doubt.

The Palestinians claim the West Bank, east Jerusalem, and Gaza Strip – areas captured by Israel in the 1967 Mideast war – for a future state.

Some 700,000 Israeli settlers live in the West Bank and east Jerusalem among 2.9 million Palestinians.. The international community overwhelmingly considers the settlements as illegal and obstacles to peace.

The settlers enjoy a European standard of living in settlements that are connected by a network of Jewish-only highways.

Meanwhile, Palestinian villages and towns are deprived of any meaningful contiguity due to an Apartheid-style separation wall that was built by Israel two decades ago.

Many Israelis moved to the settlements in search of affordable housing, backed by billions of dollars in state funding in recent decades.

There are also many national-religious hardliners who identify the southern and northern West Bank with the "biblical lands of Judaea and Samaria" and see living there as fulfilling "a divine promise."

The heavily-armed settlers terrorize Palestinians in the West Bank and east Jerusalem on a daily basis.

Violence between Israelis and Palestinians has surged since Israel stepped up raids across the West Bank following a spate of Palestinian attacks last spring. The bloodshed has spiked this year, with more than 60 Palestinians killed in the West Bank and east Jerusalem, according to a tally by The Associated Press.

The Palestinians say Israel is further entrenching its 55-year open-ended occupation of lands they want for a future state, as well as undermining their own security forces.

In the 1970s, Israel established a network of settlements across the West Bank, particularly in areas deemed strategic.

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