Monday, February 27, 2023

A Pogrom in the West Bank

 The Israeli rights groups Peace Now and B’Tselem also described the attacks as a settler “pogrom” supported by the Israeli government.

300 attacks, including shootings and arson in the Nablus area of the occupied West Bank, Palestinian officials say, in what has been described as a “pogrom”

37-year-old Palestinian, Samih al-Aqtash was shot and killed by settlers protected by the Israeli army in the village of Zaatara south of Nablus.

390 Palestinians were injured across the villages of Huwara, Zaatara, Burin and Asira al-Qibliya.

Stabbings and attacks with metal rods and rocks, and one person in hospital with a fractured skull after being beaten in the head with a rock. Another was beaten with a metal rod to the face, 30 Palestinian homes and 100 cars were set on fire by settlers.

Video shows the attacks taking place under the protection or in coordination with the Israeli army, sometimes with soldiers and settlers shooting side by side.

Jordan hosted a meeting between Israel and the Palestinian Authority in Aqaba attended by Egypt and the United States, called in order to discuss steps to de-escalate tensions.

The closing statement of the Aqaba summit, said: “The Government of Israel and the Palestinian National Authority confirmed their joint readiness and commitment to immediately work to end unilateral measures for a period of 3-6 months. This includes an Israeli commitment to stop discussion of any new settlement units for four months and to stop authorisation of any outposts for six months,”

After the statement was announced, Netanyahu said that there “will not be any freeze” with regards to settlement construction.

“The building and authorisation in Judea and Samaria will continue according to the original planning and building schedule, with no change,” he said, using the biblical term for the West Bank.

A number of top ministers in Israel also confirmed that the Israeli government will not temporarily halt the announcement of new illegal settlement units.

Israeli National Security Adviser Tzachi Hanegbi, who headed the Israeli delegation at the summit, said “Contrary to reports and tweets about the meeting in Jordan, there is no change in Israeli policy,”

Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich, “…there will not be a freeze on construction and development in settlements, not even for one day,”

“The speed and efficiency in which settlers take over Palestinian lands by building farming outposts is coupled with a lot of violence,” Dror Etkes, Kerem Navot founder and settlement researcher, told Al Jazeera.

According to the latest United Nations figures, 2022 recorded the highest number of settler-related incidents since the international organisation Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs started monitoring them in 2006.

Etkes said that the establishment of outposts is usually associated with a huge amount of violence…Israeli human rights group Yesh-Din data from 2005 to 2022 show that 93 percent of all investigations into ideologically motivated crime in the West Bank are closed without an indictment.

Israeli group B'Tselem summed it up.

"This isn't 'loss of control.' This is exactly what Israeli control looks like. The settlers carry out the attack, the military secures it, the politicians back it..."

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