On February 27, Israeli settlers backed by their country’s military went on a deadly rampage involving hundreds of arson attacks in the West Bank. One Palestinian man, 37 year old Samih al-Aqtash, was killed. The settlers were protected by the Israeli army during their rampage.
According to Al Jazeera, “At least 390 Palestinians were injured in the settler rampage across the villages of Huwara, Zaatara, Burin and Asira al-Qibliya – all south of Nablus, the Palestinian Red Crescent said, adding that the majority were wounded from tear gas fired by the Israeli army.” Furthermore the Palestinian health ministry reported stabbings and beatings against Palestinian civilians. Witnesses of this rampage maintain that the Israeli army was coordinating with the rioters.
The broader context of the recent events is the illegal military occupation by Israel of the West Bank since 1967. According to International law both the West Bank and Gaza rightfully belong to Palestinians. Furthermore, Israel has allowed and encouraged its own citizens to settle on this land effectively stealing Palestinian Land. In that sense, Israel is always facilitating settler violence against Palestinians because its occupation is anything but peaceful. Palestinian witnesses say that they were even more active than usual on the 27.
According to Al Jazeera, “ In a statement on December 15, the United Nations said, “2022 is the sixth year of consecutive annual increase in the number of Israeli settler attacks in the occupied West Bank.” “Disturbing evidence of Israeli forces frequently facilitating, supporting and participating in settler attacks, makes it difficult to discern between Israeli settler and state violence.
Armed and masked Israeli settlers are attacking Palestinians in their homes, attacking children on their way to school, destroying property and burning olive groves, and terrorising entire communities with complete impunity,” the statement said. In recent weeks, matters on the ground have become particularly tense after Israel carried out several large-scale raids in Palestinian cities, killing dozens of Palestinians.”
Days before, Israel carried out one of its deadliest raids killing 11 Palestinians wounding 100 with live ammunition.