Israeli-American killed in West Bank after settlers rampage against Palestinians

Israeli-American killed in West Bank after settlers rampage against Palestinians
The UN security council has called an emergency session on the West Bank violence for the third time since Israel's extremist government took power.
2 min read
27 February, 2023
Demonstrators held protests in Tel Aviv on Monday evening [Getty images]

Suspected Palestinian gunmen killed an Israeli-American motorist in the occupied West Bank on Monday after Jewish settlers rampaged through a Palestinian village in a burst of violence that defied U.S. efforts to prod the sides to cooperate on security.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility by any Palestinian groups. The State Department did not identify the person killed.

Israel reinforced its West Bank garrisons after two brothers from a Jewish settlement were shot dead on Sunday, triggering the rampage by settlers in which a Palestinian was killed, scores were hurt and dozens of cars and homes were torched.

At a regular briefing for reporters, State Department spokesperson Ned Price condemned attacks by both sides and welcomed statements by Netanyahu calling for a cessation to what Price described as "vigilante violence" by settlers.

"We expect the Israeli government to ensure full accountability and legal prosecution of those responsible for these attacks, in addition to compensation for the lost homes and property," Price said.

On Sunday, Jordan, with U.S. envoys, hosted a rare meeting where Israeli and Palestinian officials pledged a slowdown in Jewish settlement announcements by the Netanyahu government and reaffirmed past peace accords.

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"Difficult days ahead"

"We expect difficult days ahead of us," Israeli Defence Minister Yoav Gallant told reporters as he toured the largely empty streets of the village of Hawara, site of Sunday's violence, under a heavy security detail.

Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas blamed the Israeli government for the Hawara rampage.

Lamar Abusarees, a 10-year-old Palestinian girl, said her house was among those set alight by settlers: "My mother moved us to a corner because there was no safe place, they broke all the windows while we were inside." 

The West Bank is home to about 2.9 million Palestinians as well as an estimated 475,000 Jewish settlers, who live in settlements considered illegal under international law.

Since the start of this year, Israeli violence has claimed the lives of at least 63 Palestinians.

Eleven Israeli civilians have been killed over the same period, according to an AFP tally based on official sources from both sides.