Another death as violence rises in the West Bank

A Palestinian civilian's death last Saturday has exacerbated tensions

January 29, 2019 18:46

The death of a Palestinian civilian last Saturday, only two days after an Israeli teenager was charged with the manslaughter of a Palestinian woman, have exacerbated tensions in the West Bank.

There at least three versions of what happened on Saturday afternoon in the clash between residents of the Adei Ad outpost north of Ramallah, and the neighbouring village Al-Mughayyir.

The settlers claim a teenager walking near the outpost was attacked by three Palestinians and lightly wounded.

The local security team rushed out and chased the suspects back to the village, where they met a “stone-throwing ambush” and called for the IDF to extricate them.

But the Palestinians claim there was an unprovoked settler attack on the village and that, when the IDF arrived there was shooting involving both soldiers and settlers in which Hamdi Taleb Na’asan, a 39-year-old resident of the village, was killed.

The IDF says it did not fire any live rounds.

Whatever the truth, violence is rising in the West Bank, with more reports of stone-throwing attacks by Palestinians on Israeli vehicles, stabbing attempts on soldiers, and violence by settlers against Palestinians.

The rising level of violence has also reached Israeli prisons, where therewas a simultaneous raid on the cells of Palestinian prisoners. Rioting broke out, leading to 17 prisoners being hospitalised.

The Israeli Prison Service claimed its officers had been searching for illegal mobile phones in the cells and that the violence had then been instigated on orders of Hamas leadership in Gaza.

Lawyers of the prisoners insisted the violence was provoked and that the raids were politically motivated to boost the standing of Internal Security Minister Gilad Erdan in the Likud primaries in two weeks.

In another election-related West Bank developments, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu visited the settler outpost of Netiv Ha’avot, which last year had been forced to move under court orders because it had been built illegally.

Mr Netanyahu claimed on Monday that the eviction was “a mistake” and that under his leadership “there will be no uprooting or freezing of settlements, just the total opposite.”

On the same day, Mr Netanyahu announced Israel would not renew the mandate of the Temporary International Presence in Hebron monitoring group, stationed in the city for the last 22 years, as part of an Israeli-Palestinian agreement.

In doing so he was bowing to the long-expressed demand of the local settlers, who claim that the international monitors are hostile to them.

January 29, 2019 18:46

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