'He was saving to start a family': Hundreds mourn Palestinian stabbed by Israeli settler near Salfit

'He was saving to start a family': Hundreds mourn Palestinian stabbed by Israeli settler near Salfit
Israeli government gives settlers 'green light' to attack Palestinians, says activist.
3 min read
West Bank
22 June, 2022
Ali Harb stabbed by an Israeli settler who was taking part in establishing a new settler outpost on Palestinian land, said relatives. [Getty]

Hundreds of Palestinians participated in the funeral of Ali Harb, the 27-year-old Palestinian from the village of Skaka near Salfit in the northern occupied West Bank, who was killed late on Tuesday by Israeli settlers.

Harb's body was taken from the Al-Najah university hospital in Nablus to his home village of Skaka, where crowds carried the coffin through the village's streets, amidst angry slogans and waving of Palestinian flags.

Harb was stabbed in the heart by an Israeli settler, during a confrontation between Palestinians and Israeli settlers on the village's lands, according to his relatives' account.

"Settlers had come to lands belonging to the village and began to install wooden structures, building some kind of barracks," Naim Harb, the victim's uncle, said to The New Arab.

"A shepherd from the region brought the news to the village and several men went out to the area, and asked the settlers what they were doing on Palestinian property, so they ran away," said Harb. "Then one of the settlers returned with around 12 armed men from the near-by settlement security, followed by soldiers from the Israeli army, then the settlers who had run away came back and stood right in front of us at a very close distance."

"As we were arguing with the soldiers, one settler came from behind the armed settlement security members, holding a knife, and stabbed Ali in the chest," the victim's uncle added.

Ali Harb was then transferred to the Salfit public hospital, where he was pronounced dead shortly after his arrival.

"Ali was a graduate of electrical engineering, but worked in construction, because he couldn’t find a job in his field," his uncle said. "He hoped to build his own house and start a family and was saving money for that purpose."

"Ali was like my own son, he was the first born of my and my brother’s children, and we all loved him," he said. "He was very human, nice to everybody, polite and helpful."

Israeli settler violence has increased since December in the northern West Bank, with repeated settler attacks on Palestinian agricultural lands and villages.

"The Israeli government has given the settlers a green light to take over any land they can take by force," Ghassan Daghlas, an activist against settlements in the northern occupied West Bank, said to The New Arab.

"Settlers come out to establish new outposts on Palestinian land because they know that they have the army and the government's protection, and that's why they attack Palestinian farmers and villagers as well," he stressed.

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"In the Salfit region alone, where Skaka is located, there are 24 settlements and settler outposts, and they are among the most violent settlers in the West Bank," Daghals further pointed out.

"Palestinians in the region have no protection, and they have to come out to protect their lands, risking their safety and lives," he added.

Israeli media reported that that Israeli authorities arrested the settler who stabbed Harb, although noting that "it is not immediately clear if he is suspected of carrying out the stabbing itself".

Ali Harb is the second Palestinian killed in the northern West Bank in 24 hours, after Israeli forces shot and killed a Palestinian worker while trying to cross the West Bank fence into Israel south of Qalailyah, late on Monday.