Settlers clash with Palestinians in aftermath of West Bank killing

UN warns against escalating tensions as settlers attack Arab villages after Palestinian gunmen killed an Israeli

By Reuters

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Israeli soldiers patrol in the West Bank village of Burqa. — AP
Israeli soldiers patrol in the West Bank village of Burqa. — AP

Published: Sat 18 Dec 2021, 1:29 AM

The United Nations Mideast peace envoy warned against escalating tensions on Friday after Palestinian gunmen killed an Israeli in the occupied West Bank and Jewish settlers were accused of attacking Arab villages in the aftermath.

Yehuda Dimentman, 25, was killed on Thursday in an ambush on his car as he left Homesh, an Israeli settlement in the northern West Bank that was evacuated in 2005 and is now home to a religious seminary.

On Friday hundreds of mourners boarded armoured buses to Homesh for a memorial service at which some called for the settlement to be re-established.

Even as the procession took place Palestinians reported settlers attacking nearby villages, shooting, hurling stones and injuring one man in his home in Qaryut. Settler leaders said Palestinians also threw rocks at Israelis.


Tor Wennesland, the UN special coordinator, said he was “alarmed” by the escalation.

“Last night, Palestinian assailants opened fire toward an Israeli vehicle near Nablus in which one Israeli was killed and two others injured. Since this morning there have been several retaliatory attacks by Israeli settlers against Palestinians,” he said. “These tragic incidents, and numerous others in recent weeks, highlight the volatility of the current situation.”

No Palestinian group claimed responsibility for the latest shooting, which follows several Palestinian attacks on Israelis in recent weeks. Palestinians also complain of attacks by settlers, whose residence in the West Bank the international community considers illegal.

Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett, a former head of the West Bank’s main settler movement, sent his “deepest condolences” to Dimentman’s family on Friday.

“We will not be silent until we have caught and dealt with the vile murderers,” he said on Twitter.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’ office accused the settlers of intimidating Palestinians “with the encouragement and protection of the Israeli occupation government,” according to the official Wafa news agency.

There were also clashes between Palestinians and Israeli police in the flashpoint East Jerusalem neighbourhood of Sheikh Jarrah.

The Associated Press news agency said one of its photographers, Mahmoud Illean, was “pushed and beaten by Israeli police in an unprovoked attack” while covering the protests, requiring hospital treatment.

The AP said it was “outraged” and the Foreign Press Association called for an investigation. In response, a police spokeswoman said officers “used means to disperse riots to maintain public order” and that the incident would be investigated.

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