Israeli rampage on West Bank village leaves one dead, 390 injured, 75 burnt homes

The Cradle, February 27, 2023 — Hours before Israeli settlers raided the village of Huwara, regional officials held a summit in Jordan to announce an agreement to ‘de-escalate tensions’ in occupied Palestine.

Scores of Israeli settlers rampaged for several hours in the West Bank town of Huwara late on 26 February, leaving one Palestinian dead, at least 390 injured, and setting fire to at least 75 Palestinian homes and 100 cars.

The Palestinian Health Ministry said 37-year-old Sameh Aqtash was shot and killed by Israeli fire. The Palestinian Red Crescent medical service said two other people were shot and wounded, a third person was stabbed, and a fourth was beaten with an iron bar.

The settlers descended on the Palestinian village brandishing firearms, knives, sticks, and stones under the protection of the Israeli army.

Images posted on social media show settlers killing an entire herd of sheep and uprooting olive trees and other crops from Palestinian farmers.

According to WAFA news agency, early on Monday, an Israeli settler tried to run over a group of journalists covering the raid in Huwara.

The attack on the Palestinian village came in response to the killing of two Israeli settlers on highway 60 near Huwara by a Palestinian gunman. Israeli Channel 12 reported that the man intercepted the settlers’ vehicle by ramming into it, got out and shot both of them, then escaped by foot.

Sunday’s violence occurred just as senior officials from Egypt, Israel, Jordan, Palestine, and the US met in the Red Sea resort of Aqaba, where they announced that Tel Aviv and the Palestinian Authority (PA) reached an agreement to “de-escalate tensions” for a period of three to six months.

“They reaffirmed the necessity of committing to de-escalation on the ground and to prevent further violence,” the Jordanian Foreign Ministry announced in a statement.

The statement also claimed Israel agreed to “stop discussion of any new settlement units for four months and to stop authorization of any outposts for six months.”

However, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu swiftly denied this claim, tweeting that “the building and authorization in [the West Bank] will continue according to the original planning and building schedule, with no change.”

Tel Aviv has also tightened its siege on the occupied West Bank city of Nablus, imposing a closure on the checkpoints of Huwara, Awarta, Al-Murabaa, Zatara, and entrances to Beita.

Over the past year, the occupied West Bank has witnessed a severe uptick in violence, both from settler assaults and Palestinian retaliatory attacks, in addition to the intense, often violent raids the Israeli army carries out on a near-daily basis.

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