Israelis suspected of starting blaze at Palestinian factory, causing hundreds of thousands in damages

Israelis suspected of starting blaze at Palestinian factory, causing hundreds of thousands in damages
Three Israeli are suspected of setting fire to a Palestinian factory in the West Bank, as violence against Palestinian businesses continues in the region.
2 min read
23 July, 2021
Palestinians continue to be on the receiving end of Israeli violence [Getty]

Three Israeli youths are suspected of setting a Palestinian marble factory in the West Bank on fire  on Thursday, according to local media reports.

Two of the suspects claimed they were attacked, but Israeli authorities who are investigating say they may have been injured as they fled from the factory.

A third suspect was treated at a hospital and then transferred to the Shin Bet security service.

The marble factory in the village of Jamma’in is owned by Ghassan Damidi, who told Haaretz that in the middle of the night he was told his factory was on fire after a car drove into it.

When he later arrived at the scene of the fire, he noticed a car driving away and when he went after it, the car crashed.

One of the people in the car was wounded and the other two fled the scene.

Damidi found a gas canister at the scene, and he estimated three million shekels ($920,000) in damages.

According to local reports, case details are under a gag order and the suspects are being represented by right-wing legal aid organisation Honenu, which claims the suspects had nothing to do with the fire.

Uptick in Israeli violence

United Nations’ human rights experts have raised alarm over a marked upsurge in settler violence in the occupied Palestinian territories, with assaults and property destruction occurring in "an atmosphere of impunity."

Live Story

The Office of Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said that in the first three months of 2021, it had documented over 210 settler violent incidents, with one Palestinian fatality.

In 2020, it recorded 771 incidents of settler violence causing injury to 133 Palestinians and damaging 9,646 trees and 184 vehicles mostly in the areas of Hebron, Jerusalem, Nablus and Ramallah.

"We call upon the Israeli military and police to investigate and prosecute these violent acts with vigour and resolve," the experts said in a statement.

The attacks, according to the UN agency, were primarily designed to take over land but also to intimidate and terrorise Palestinians.

"They primarily target the livelihoods of rural Palestinians, vandalising livestock, agricultural lands, trees and homes. Besides the presence and expansion of Israeli settlements, which are intended to establish illegal claims for Israeli sovereignty, settler violence is meant to make the daily lives of Palestinians untenable," they said.