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Israel settlers attack Palestinian villages

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Israeli settlers rampaged through Palestinian towns in the occupied West Bank on Wednesday, torching buildings and cars, residents and officials said, Reuters reports.

One Palestinian was shot dead during the rampage, Palestinian health officials said.

In Turmus Ayya, a prosperous town near the occupied West Bank city of Ramallah, footage showed cars ablaze, with thick clouds of black smoke swirling above and Palestinian youths throwing stones.

Overnight, residents of a number of other Palestinian towns also reported settler attacks as senior ministers in Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government called for a full-scale military operation across the West Bank.

Yaqoub Oweis, Chairman of the Village Council of Al-Lubban Al-Sharqeya near Ramallah, said Israeli soldiers and police stood by as a large group of settlers burned a petrol station, orchards, a cement factory and dozens of cars.

“The attack was unprecedented and abnormal,” he said. “There was heavy gunfire but we couldn’t distinguish whether it came from settlers or the soldiers because of the darkness.” Attacks were also reported in other West Bank towns and villages.

The Israeli military and police did not immediately respond to Reuters requests for comment.

For over a year, the occupation army has been conducting regular sweeps of Palestinian towns and villages, arresting hundreds of Palestinians including minors.

Hours before the overnight attacks, two gunmen fired on a roadside restaurant and petrol station close to the illegal settlement of Eli, killing four illegal Israeli settlers.

In the wake of the killings, Israeli National Security Minister, Itamar Ben-Gvir, from one of the hard-right parties in Netanyahu’s religious-nationalist coalition, called for tougher action.

“We need a military operation, we need to flatten buildings, we need targeted killings,” he told Parliament on Wednesday. “That’s how you act against terrorism.”

In response to the attacks, Netanyahu’s office said Israel planned to add 1,000 new homes to the illegal Eli settlement, defying international calls for a halt to new settlement projects.


Palestinians have complained repeatedly of attacks by illegal settlers in the West Bank, an issue that has also drawn mounting international concern, particularly following a rampage through the town of Huwara earlier this year, which Israelis have called a ‘pogrom’.

Local Palestinian families in Al-Lubban said settlers cut off the road, forcing them to seek refuge at a petrol station where they hid in their cars, before being forced to flee.

“The settlers attacked the town, damaged and torched homes and cars,” said Mahmoud Dawoud, from the village of Al-Lubban Al-Gharbeya, who added that the settlers smashed his car and two belonging to his brother.

Despite the escalating violence, there has been no sign of any new effort to find a political solution. US-brokered peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians, aimed at establishing a Palestinian state in the West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem, collapsed in 2014 and show no sign of reviving.

Netanyahu’s government is set on expanding illegal settlements in the West Bank and includes members who rule out a Palestinian state.

So far this year, 174 Palestinians, the majority civilians, have been killed by Israeli forces. At the same time, 24 Israelis and one foreigner have been killed.

Source: Middle East Monitor

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