Israeli settlers kill Palestinians in West Bank, burn houses, cars

Israeli settlers kill Palestinians in West Bank, burn houses, cars
Settlers intensified their attacks on Palestinians and their properties in the West Bank, amid increasing tensions as Israel continues to bomb Gaza.
3 min read
15 April, 2024
Palestinians gather to mourn Omar Hamed, 17, who was killed by Israeli settlers near Ramallah [Getty/file photo]

Israel settlers stepped up their attacks on Palestinians and their properties over the weekend in the occupied West Bank, in the backdrop of Israel’s deadly war in Gaza and subsequent anger in the Palestinian territories.

Over the weekend, hundreds of Israeli settlers carried out large-scale raids and assaults particularly in the village of Al-Mughayyir in Ramallah, as well as villages in the Nablus, Bethlehem and Hebron governorates, among others.

At least 25 villages were targeted, the Union of Agricultural Workers Committees said in an official statement on Monday.

A number of Palestinians were killed, identified as 17-year-old Omar Hamed, from Beitin, northeast of Ramallah and 25-year-old Jehad Abu Alia in Al-Mughayyir, the NGO said.

The Wafa news agency added that Mohammed Issam Shahmawi, 22, and Mohammed Daraghmeh, 26 were killed on Saturday in Tubas.

The damages to the properties are estimated to amount to 10 million shekels ($2,663,000).

85 houses were burned, as well as 185 cars and other vehicles, including agricultural tractors, while over 200 sheep were stolen and more than 50 killed and slaughtered.

Additionally, one car was burned in Deir Dibwan as Israeli soldiers looked on and allowed the incident to occur, which was caught on security cameras.

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The incident was denounced by the Israeli NGO Yesh Din - Volunteers for Human Rights, who said the Israeli army does not protect the Palestinian people nor did they do anything to prevent the crime from happening.

The series of attacks occurred against the backdrop of the death of 14-year-old settler Benjamin Achimeir, who was later found killed on Saturday. No one has been arrested or charged yet with the incident, with the perpetrator not yet identified.

At least 464 Palestinians have been killed in the West Bank since Israel began waging its war in the Gaza Strip on October 7, while at least 4,800 have been injured.

Over 8,000 have been arrested since, with many placed in administrative detention.

Over 33,979 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli's indiscriminate bombing in the coastal enclave, mostly women and children, amid an international outcry. 

According to the data of the Palestinian Wall and Settlement Resistance Authority, settlers carried out 546 attacks against Palestinians and their property in the West Bank during the first quarter of 2024,

727 incidents have been recorded overall from October 7 until April.

Additionally, at least 206 Palestinian families have been displaced in the territory as a result of settler violence, restrictions to access, as well as property damage.

The Israeli army has also laced more checkpoints and movement obstacles, hindering Palestinian access to workplaces. Such an action disenfranchises Palestinian rural communities more, as many residents' livelihoods rely on farming and sheep herding.

On Monday, a Palestinian man was seriously injured by Israeli army bullets while he was near the separation wall in Qalqilya, while another was wounded in Burqa, northwest of Nablus.

Israel has occupied the West Bank following an invasion in 1967, violating international law. Israeli settlers and soldiers subject Palestinians to harassment, violence and many other crimes on a regular basis.