Israeli flag and soldier at checkpoint

Israelis attacked Palestinian villages in the occupied West Bank on Sunday night seeking revenge for the two Israelis who were shot dead by a Palestinian gunman the night before. 

Buildings, homes, and cars were set on fire, which resulted in the death of at least one Palestinian man, a 37-year-old who was shot in the stomach. Witnesses said these Israeli “settlers” were supported by the Israeli army.

The brother of the man shot dead said the Israeli army shot his brother, not the settlers, a claim Israel denied. The victim was a blacksmith who had just returned after volunteering in Turkey after the earthquake. The brother said the 37-year-old ended up bleeding to death because the IDF would not clear the way for an ambulance. 

The BBC reported that a large crowd of Israeli “settlers” entered Hawara, a small village south of Nablus, the scene of a major Israeli raid last week that resulted in 11 dead Palestinians and about 100 injured. 

The scene was chaotic. One 10-year-old girl told Reuters that Israelis set her home on fire. 

“My mother moved us to a corner because there was no safe place. They broke all the windows while we were inside,” she said.

Residents in the town were bracing for retaliation over the killings and closed a rolling gate that serves as an entrance to Hawara. The Guardian noted that their concerns were justified and about 100 armed Israelis backed by Israeli Defense Forces arrived. 

The news outlet said no resident in Hawara ever recalled such an intense clash, which they fear is an indicator that a major conflict is brewing.

About 350 Palestinians were injured in acts of violence. Violence spilled over into Monday afternoon when an Israeli-American man was shot dead near Jericho, east of the West Bank. 

Ned Price, the U.S. State Department spokesperson, said Washington condemns the “wide-scale, indiscriminate violence by settlers against Palestinian civilians.”

One video shared widely on social media Sunday and geolocated by NBC News appeared to show a crowd of Israeli settlers praying while in front of a burning building in the town.

Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian president, said he held the Israeli government responsible for “the terrorist acts carried out by settlers under the protection of the occupation forces tonight.”

Rabbi Ya’akov Idels, an educator and resident for the past 30 years who knew the two young Israelis who were killed, said there was “a strong sense of anger and a great feeling of pain.”

“I think that if the two that died would be alive, they would condemn these acts,” he said of the subsequent rampage. “I understand the pain that some feel, but these actions miss the main point.”

Nablus Raid

Last Wednesday, Israeli security forces conducted a massive raid in the West Bank that resulted in at least 11 deaths and more than 100 injured, 80 of whom suffered bullet wounds.

Israel said it killed three gunmen and said it is looking into reports of unarmed individuals being shot, including what appeared to be a video of two young boys who were shot in the back as they fled the scene in Nablus. The New York Times noted that the raid was unusual in that it occurred during the day instead of at night, which increases the risk of more civilian casualties.

Those killed in the raid included several citizens and two elderly men. The BBC said one of those killed was Adnan Saabe Baara, 72, who was purportedly seen lying in the street next to bags of bread. A 16-year-old boy was also shot dead, the report said. 

The report noted that the latest raid claimed the life of one more than the 10 killed in last month’s raid in Jenin, which had been the deadliest in the West Bank since 2005.

The raids have increased the prospect of new conflict in the country. A Palestinian opened fire and killed two Israelis in their car in the occupied West Bank on Sunday, the Israeli government said, according to Al Jazeera.

TRENDPOST: The Trends Journal has reported extensively on Israel’s year-long crackdown that Israelis call an “anti-terror offensive.” The raids in the West Bank alone have left over 200 Palestinians dead. (See “TOP TREND 2023, MIDDLE EAST MELTDOWN: ISRAEL RAMPS UP DEADLY RAIDS ON PALESTINIANS; GUNMAN RETALIATES IN FRONT OF SYNAGOGUE” 31 Jan 2023, “UN RESOLUTION: ISRAEL FACES INTERNATIONAL CONDEMNATION FOR PUNISHING PALESTINIANS” 24 Jan 2023, and “UN TASKED TO RULE ON ISRAEL SETTLEMENTS OF PALESTINIAN TERRITORIES” 10 Jan 2023.) 

One popular Twitter user, posted, “While all eyes are on Ukraine, Israeli occupation troops murdered 11 Palestinians, including a child and three elderly people, and injured over 100 during a raid in the city of Nablus. This is a massacre. And not one word of condemnation from the ‘international community.’”

We have long noted that “settlers” and “occupied” land are bullshit terms. The land is stolen and these settlers are “terrorists,” and not those the media, Israel and America call “militants.” 

Daniel Kurtzer, who served in Tel Aviv as the U.S. ambassador to Israel during the George W. Bush administration, accused Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s hardline government of breaking a 2004 deal with Washington by legalizing a group of nationalist and religious settlements in the West Bank, The Guardian reported. He urged the Biden administration to take further steps in preventing Israel’s “creeping annexation.”

He told the paper that it is a “significant violation” of a commitment that the Israeli government made with the U.S. to dismantle illegal outposts and illegal settlements.

“Now you’ve come full circle,” he said. “Not only are they not dismantling these illegal outposts, but they’re trying to legalize them ex post facto. And there have been many that have been built since that time, so that the number is really quite significant.”

Rocket Fire From Gaza 

The deadly raid in Nablus sparked new tension in the region and rockets were launched from Gaza into southern Israel a day after the raid, according to reports. The Associated Press, citing the Israeli military, reported that Palestinian “militants” fired six rockets and two anti-aircraft missiles in response to the killings. 

None of the missiles hit their targets, the report said. Five were intercepted and one landed in an open field, the report said. The report said Israeli fighter jets responded by striking several targets in Gaza. 

Netanyahu told his Cabinet that his government has a clear policy to “strike terror powerfully and to deepen our roots in our land.”

“We will settle accounts with whoever harms Israeli citizens,” he said.

TRENDPOST: We remind Trends Journal subscribers that in the 1967 six-day war, Israel invaded and seized Palestinian territories of the West Bank, East Jerusalem, Gaza Strip, and the Syrian Golan Heights, expelling some 300,000 Palestinians from their homes, while gaining stolen territory that was three and a half times its original size. To date, some 670,000 Israelis live in the occupied West Bank.

Israeli settlements are illegal under international law. They violate Article 49 of the Fourth Geneva Convention of 1949 which states, “The Occupying Power shall not deport or transfer parts of its own civilian population into the territory it occupies.”

There was a summit on Sunday in Aqaba where officials from Israel and Palestine met to try to ease tensions, and there were early reports that Netanyahu agreed to freeze new settlements in Judea and Samaria, which was later denied. 

Tzachi Hanegbi, Israel’s national security adviser, told The Times of Israel, “In the coming months Israel will authorize nine outposts and will approve 9,500 new housing units in Judea and Samaria. There is no settlement freeze or change in the status quo on the Temple Mount, and there is no limitation on IDF activities.”

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