Middle East Desk
WEST BANK: Israeli settlers have attacked a Palestinian village in the occupied West Bank overnight, setting brush fires and hurling stones, Palestinian officials and an Israeli rights group said on Monday. It appeared to be a revenge attack after three Israelis were wounded in a drive-by shooting at a nearby traffic junction on Sunday.
Israeli human rights group B’Tselem circulated videos showing the fires with people shouting in the background, saying dozens of illegal settlers had attacked the village of Jaloud. Israeli security forces arrested 11 Palestinians and four people were wounded by rubber-coated bullets, B’Tselem said.
Ghassan Daghlas, a Palestinian Authority official who monitors settlement activity in the northern West Bank, provided a similar account, saying the villagers came out to defend the village after the settlers attacked. The Israeli military said Israelis and Palestinians hurled rocks at each other outside the village and “a number of locations were ignited”. It did not provide details on what triggered the violence. It said 10 people had been detained but did not identify them.
Israeli settlers have been known to carry out so-called “price tag” attacks on Palestinian communities in response to violence or perceived Israeli plans to restrict settlement activity.
The United Nations last month warned that violence, including assaults and property destruction, by Israeli settlers against Palestinian civilians in the West Bank has increased substantially in recent months. During the first three months of 2021, more than 210 incidents of violence by settlers were recorded, including the death of one Palestinian, it said.
The violence has been mainly motivated by ideology and intended to “intimidate and terrorise Palestinians”, and prevent them from accessing their land while pushing others to move.