Israeli forces violently block Hawara solidarity march, as settlers move in

Israeli forces violently block Hawara solidarity march, as settlers move in
Israeli forces fired teargas and stun grenades at the protesters, preventing them from entering Hawara.
3 min read
03 March, 2023
Israeli forces blocked the solidarity march from making its way to Hawara [Getty]

Israeli soldiers Friday barred hundreds of Israeli protesters from entering the occupied Palestinian village of Hawara in a show of solidarity, after a deadly rampage last week by settlers.

The Friday protest was led by left-wing Israeli groups calling for an end to Israeli violence against Palestinians in the occupied West Bank, which has so far claimed the lives of at least 65 Palestinians since the start of this year.

Israeli forces used stun grenades and teargas, violently pushing the protesters back from continuing their rally. Some were detained, reports said.

The rampage by settlers in Hawara saw hundreds of cars torched and Palestinian houses targeted. At least 390 Palestinians were wounded in the attack, while one was killed in a nearby village.

Israel has a vocal minority of activists who support an end to the occupation of the West Bank and East Jerusalem and peace with the Palestinians.

However, some recent surveys have shown that Israelis are generally in favour of continuing some form of occupation and the preservation of illegal settlements in the West Bank.

Israel also elected its most right-wing government in history at the end of 2023, which includes far-right ministers and settler leaders.

During Sunday night's pogrom, Israeli forces looked on as settlers rampaged through Hawara after two settlers were killed as they drove through the village hours earlier.

Two settlers suspected of taking part in the rampage were arrested again on Thursday, after briefly being released.

The suspects, a 29-year-old man and a minor, were arrested minutes after a district court ordered them released along with six other suspects, according to Israel’s Haaretz newspaper.

The order to re-arrest them was issued by Defence Minister Yoav Gallant.

National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir denounced Gallant's decision as "anti-democratic".

Ben-Gvir, like many in Benjamin Netanyahu’s far-right government, is accused of inciting hate and violence toward Palestinians.

Israel's Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich this week called for Hawara to be "wiped off the face of the earth".

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Separately on Thursday night, a group of settlers pelted Palestinian cars with stones and clashed with Israeli troops as they tried to fight their way to the illegal Evyatar outpost, according to Israeli media.

The settlers, who arrived from the settlement of Yitzhar close to Hawara, reportedly got off the bus they were travelling in and began hurling stones at passing Palestinian cars.

A scuffle broke out between them and Israeli soldiers who forcefully dispersed the crowds, but made no arrests, Israeli media added.

The Evyatar outpost, which has been vacant since 2021, was cleared on Monday morning after hundreds of settlers occupied the site the day before, following the violence in Hawara.