US Secretary of State Antony Blinken calls for “both sides” to de-escalate tensions in the Palestinian West Bank. Since the start of the year, Israeli forces have killed 72 Palestinians; 12 Israelis have also been killed.
reposted from Al Jazeera, March 7, 2023
Witnesses told AFP news agency that a house was besieged by the Israeli forces and hit with rockets. Footage circulating on social media showed helicopters over a column of military vehicles entering the city.
Israeli authorities said one of the Palestinian men they killed was behind the shooting of two brothers from an illegal settlement near the Palestinian village of Huwara last week.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office said troops had “eliminated” the gunman who last month killed two Israeli settlers in the West Bank.
Al Jazeera’s Sara Khairat, reporting from Ramallah, said that another raid by Israeli forces was also carried out on Tuesday evening in another refugee camp south of Nablus.
The army entered a building in the Askar refugee camp and arrested three men, including two sons of a 49-year-old man killed in Jenin.
Nabil Abu Rudeineh, spokesman for Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas, called the use of rockets in Jenin on Tuesday an act of “all-out war”, Palestinian news agency Wafa reported.
Abu Rudeineh accused the Israeli government of being “responsible for this dangerous escalation which threatens to inflame the situation and destroy all efforts aimed at restoring stability”.
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken overnight reiterated calls for both sides to de-escalate tensions in the West Bank, and the violence is also expected to be raised by Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin when he visits Israel this week.
JNS, the Jewish News Syndicate, adds this quote from State Department spokesperson Ned Price:
“Israel, as we have made the point before, has the legitimate right to defend its people and its territory against all forms of aggression, including, of course, those from terrorist groups,” said State Department spokesman Ned Price during a press briefing.
And we’ve, as I just mentioned, seen far too many vivid illustrations of the terrorist threat that Israel faces, including in recent days. We remain deeply concerned by the sharp rise in violence in [Judea and Samaria], and we continue to urge the parties to take immediate steps to prevent the further loss of life…
We’ve said this many times before, but we continue to believe that Israelis and Palestinians deserve equal measures of freedom, of security, of prosperity. That remains our goal. That remains our long-term goal to, in the first instance, keep alive the prospects of a negotiated two-state solution on the path to realizing that.
However, there has been no sign of any let up in the violence, ahead of the start of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan and the Jewish Passover festival.
Overnight on Monday, Israeli settlers attacked Palestinians in the village of Huwara, the scene of a violent rampage last week by dozens of settlers seeking revenge for the shooting of the two Israelis as they sat in their car.
Israeli army and border police forces dispersed crowds of what the military described as “a number of violent rioters” in Huwara. Videos shared on social media showed a group of black-clad youths attacking a Palestinian car before its driver managed to pull away.
Other footage appeared to show Israeli soldiers dancing together with Jewish settlers in the town on what was the Jewish festival of Purim. “Huwara has been conquered, gentlemen!” a voice is heard saying in Hebrew.
Last week, settlers torched dozens of cars and houses in Huwara after two brothers were shot by a Palestinian gunman as they sat in their car at a checkpoint nearby.
The rampage, described as a “pogrom” by a senior Israeli commander, triggered worldwide outrage and condemnation, which was increased when ultra-nationalist Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich, who has responsibility for aspects of the West Bank administration, said Huwara should be “erased”. Smotrich later offered a partial retraction.
Settlers have killed at least five Palestinians in 2023 so far, while Israeli forces have killed at least 68 Palestinians this year.
Marwan Bishara, Al Jazeera’s senior political analyst, said that Israel’s violent repression will do little to quash Palestinian resistance.
“The idea that you can simply contain Jenin by more violence has proven to be wrong over the years and decades. The refugee camps and the cities that the Israeli attack the most, where it killed the most, have turned to be the most important symbols of Palestinian resistance,” Bishara said.
“Hebron or Gaza or Jenin and others have proven to be the most resistant, the most steadfast, and we’re going to continue to see more Israeli raids, more Palestinian resistance, the cycle will continue.”
For a complete list of Palestinians and Israelis killed since 2000, please visit Israel-Palestine Timeline
NOTE: The entire West Bank has been under Israeli occupation since 1967; all its official entrances and exits are controlled by Israeli soldiers, making its Palestinian inhabitants virtual prisoners. Many are families that were ethnically cleansed from Israel during Israel’s founding war (see this and this and this). Israeli forces often invade them; one example is here.
Israel was established in 1947 through a war of ethnic cleansing of the indigenous population, both Muslims and Christians, and it continues to steal other people’s land for illegal colonies known as ‘settlements.’ While Palestinians most often use nonviolent resistance, a small number use armed resistance against the invaders.
Thanks to the pro-Israel lobby in the US, Congress disburses over $20 million per day of Americans’ tax money directly to and/or on behalf of Israel.
RECENT ISRAELI MILITARY RAIDS OF PALESTINIAN CITIES:
- Israeli Soldiers Kill A Palestinian, Injure Two, Abduct Six, In Jericho
- Palestinian Dies From Serious Wounds After Israeli Soldiers Shot Him Thursday
- Israel kills 11 Palestinians in daytime raid on Nablus
- Israeli Soldiers Kill Another Young Man, Injure Seven
- Israeli Army Kills A Palestinian Youth In Nablus – Shot in the Face
- Israeli Soldiers Kill Five Palestinians In Jericho
OTHER RECENT NEWS ON ISRAEL-PALESTINE:
- By caving to Israel, Biden opens the door to war
- Israeli settlers rampage as killings continue
- Gazan children’s artwork traumatizes ‘UK Lawyers For Israel’
- Nikki Haley: Candidate for President of U.S. or of Israel?