Killing of Israeli settlers sparks West Bank violence

Israeli settlers set fire to cars and buildings in the occupied West Bank on Sunday night after Palestinian gunmen killed two settlers in the territory earlier in the day.

Palestinian officials said settler violence left one person dead from a gunshot wound and more than 100 injured. Shown are the buildings of the city of Hawala, wrapped up.

The killings and reprisals came as Israeli and Palestinian officials met in Jordan in a pre-planned, U.S.-backed effort to quell a wider conflict. surge in violence This has fueled concerns that the long-simmering Israeli-Palestinian conflict is on the brink of serious escalation.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas condemned the settler attacks and said the Israeli government was “fully responsible”.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu returned to power in December, leading a coalition government widely viewed as a coalition of the willing. most right wing In Israel’s history, the military said it was tracking two settler killers, appealing for calm.

“I ask you not to take the law into your own hands, even when your blood is boiling,” he said in a statement Sunday night. [military] And security forces are allowed to carry out their duties. “

However, opposition leader Yair Lapid has accused the Netanyahu government – of uniting right-wing, ultra-religious, far-right groups and handing over key security posts to ultranationalist settlers. Bezalel Smotrich and Itamar Ben-Gwir — being a “danger to the security of Israel”.

Sunday’s violence ends four weeks of escalating bloodshed as Israeli forces killed 21 Palestinians two worst raids Palestinian gunman in the West Bank since 2005 killed seven Israelis In the hamlet of East Jerusalem, where the deadliest shootings have occurred in the city since 2008.

Since the beginning of the year, Israeli forces have killed more than 60 Palestinians, and Palestinians have killed 12 Israelis and 1 Ukrainian. According to the United Nations, 2022 was the deadliest year for Palestinians in the West Bank, a large part of Palestinian territory that has been occupied by Israel for 56 years since 2005.

Sunday’s talks between Israeli and Palestinian officials in the Jordanian port city of Aqaba, which was also attended by Jordanian, Egyptian and US officials, eased the situation ahead of an upcoming Muslim-Jewish religious celebration. It was part of a broader effort to week.

In a statement issued after the meeting, Israeli and Palestinian officials said they would pursue “confidence-building measures” and that Israel would suspend discussions on new settlements in the West Bank for four months. Most of the international community considers settlements illegal.

But in a sign of the fragility of the deal, Smotrich, a supporter of Israel’s annexation of the West Bank, which Netanyahu gave broad powers to live in the territory, said he would not accept any freeze on settlement activities.

“I don’t know what they talked about in Jordan and what they didn’t talk about,” he wrote on Twitter. “But one thing I do know is that not a single day will freeze the building and development of the settlement. (This is under my authority.) Killing of Israeli settlers sparks West Bank violence

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