Violent violence erupts in West Bank for years: solution seems far away

Violent violence erupts in West Bank for years: solution seems far away

Things went horribly wrong on the day of a rare meeting between Israeli and Palestinian officials to stop the escalating violence. After a Palestinian killed two Israeli settlers yesterday in the village of Huwara in the Israeli-occupied West Bank, hundreds of other settlers moved into the village to retaliate. The end of violence seems far away.

Nasser Dmadi was at home with his family in Huwara when a group of Israelis besieged his home. The windows of his house were smashed and there was nothing left of his car. “It started around 7 o’clock. We were sitting at home when the settlers started throwing stones and set my car on fire.” A Palestinian in the village was killed by settlers and dozens of residents were injured.

The attack on the village was in response to the deaths of two Israelis earlier in the day. A Palestinian shot and killed two brothers, aged 20 and 22, living in one of the nearby illegal Jewish settlements. Shortly after, WhatsApp groups called for revenge, and hundreds of Israeli settlers in the area responded. An explosion of violence broke out in Huwara. According to eyewitnesses, houses and cars were set on fire for hours under the watch of the Israeli army.

“There were four of us and there were hundreds,” says Dmadi, whose car was completely burned. “We have nothing to defend ourselves and the army just stood there. They did nothing to protect us.”

Israeli journalist Hagar Shezaf of Israel’s left-liberal newspaper, Haaretz, says the army hardly interferes. “The arrival of Israeli settlers was known long before the violence. This could have been avoided. The Israeli government said that civilians should not be allowed to play their course, but at the same time, Finance Minister Smotrich said he understood the anger of the settlers.”

dead and injured

Journalist Shezaf explains that a building where three families lived caught fire. Those affected by the smoke were treated at the hospital.

Last year, the United Nations recently noted that the West Bank experienced its deadliest year in decades. Since then, the spiral of violence has continued to grow. According to international news agencies, around 60 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli violence since the beginning of this year. Twelve Israelis were also attacked by Palestinians.

The Palestinian village of Hawara is often the scene of violence between Israelis and Palestinians. Journalist Hagar Shezaf says the Palestinian city is on a main road frequently used by Israeli settlers. But yesterday’s violence reached unprecedented proportions. “Palestinians say it was the most violent attack they had ever witnessed. They get the feeling that the settlers dare to go further by attacking the houses deep in the village. And they are confident enough to do it.”

Kurban Nasser Dmadi confirms this picture. “We didn’t expect them to come home. I thought they were staying on the main road. I’m 53 years old and this is the worst attack I’ve ever had.”

Israelis feel supported by the government

The violence occurred on the same day that senior Israeli and Palestinian officials held talks to de-escalate tensions. Israeli officials promised not to expand settlements in the West Bank for the next four months, but later in the day Israeli officials opposed the deal. The parties will continue to talk next month.

Despite these attempts to de-escalate tensions, Shezaf suspects that many Israeli settlers feel supported by the government to use more violence. “There was still some desire to improve the situation in the previous government, but in the current government, for example, we have Minister Ben-Gvir defending the same people who are now attacking the Palestinians. He has a history of violence. I expect the lack of apps to get worse.”

Source: NOS