Israeli settlers attack Palestinian towns in West Bank, at least one dead and hundreds injured  

More than 65 Palestinians, including 13 children, have been killed by Israeli forces in the first 59 days of this year in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem

February 27, 2023 by Peoples Dispatch
Israeli settler violence in Nablus, Palestine
(Photo: Wafa)

Hundreds of Israeli settlers attacked different towns and villages near Nablus on Sunday, February 26. At least one Palestinian — identified as 37-year-old Sameh Aqtash — was killed and over 100 were injured, WAFA reported.  The settlers also attacked and burnt dozens of Palestinian houses and vehicles across the region.

Palestinians claimed that the settlers had unleashed their violence under the protection of the Israeli occupation forces. They also claimed that the Israeli forces prevented medical aid from reaching those who needed it.  

WAFA reported that following the attacks, the Israeli forces imposed a siege around Nablus, restricting the movement of Palestinians. Times of Israel reported that the Israeli occupation forces decided to tighten the siege of Nablus on Monday with increased deployment of forces, claiming that they were attempting to apprehend the gunman who allegedly opened fire and killed two Israeli settlers in Huwara on Sunday.        

Nablus and nearby Jenin in the occupied West Bank have been the center of Israeli violence in the last few months. On February 22, Israeli occupation forces killed at least 11 Palestinians and injured over 100 in Nablus city in a daytime raid. 

More than 65 Palestinians, including 13 children, have been killed by Israeli forces in the first 59 days of this year in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem. Last year was the deadliest for Palestinians in the occupied West Bank since 2005, with the largest number of Palestinians killed in Jenin

Israel’s extremist government led by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has decided to increase the building of new settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories. On February 12, it authorized nine illegal outposts in retrospect.  

Last week, the UN Security Council adopted a presidential statement denouncing the move, and asked Israel to desist from further expansion of illegal settlements and demolition of Palestinian homes. 

Aqaba Summit

On Sunday, Jordan hosted a meeting between Israeli officials and the Palestinian Authority in Aqaba, in which both parties agreed to find ways and measures to reduce violence in the occupied territories, including a temporary halt of four months on the building of new settlements and of six months on the legalization of outposts. Representatives from the US and Egypt were also present at the summit. 

However, within hours of the news breaking out, Netanyahu, as well as Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich, who is also in charge of settlements, denied any possibility of a halt in the construction of new settlements. 

In a Twitter post, Netanyahu said that “there is and will not be any freeze” in the settlement activities in the occupied territories.  

Calling the meeting in Jordan “unnecessary,” Smotrich tweeted on Sunday that “there will not be a freeze on construction and development in settlement, not even for one day (this is on my authority).”  

Thousands of Palestinians had marched against the summit in Aqaba, claiming that it was an attempt to undermine the Palestinian resistance. 

Critics of the Aqaba meeting argue that it only “reinforces the status quo” of occupation and illegal settlements and does nothing to address settler violence.