Settler Attack Palestinians in Huwara Amid Israeli Army Presence
At least six Palestinians injured in an Israeli settler attack on Palestinians in Nablus in the occupied West Bank.
At least six Palestinians have been injured after being attacked by Israeli settlers in the Palestinian town of Huwara, south of Nablus in the occupied West Bank.
The town is the site of a settler rampage last month that killed one Palestinian and injured hundreds of others, before Israel’s finance minister Bezalel Smotrich called for it to be “wiped out”.
Monday night’s attack came a few hours before a Palestinian man succumbed to gunshot wounds he sustained during a large-scale Israeli military raid last month in Nablus. Eleven Palestinians were killed and more than 100 others were injured in what was described as a “massacre”.
The official Palestinian news agency, Wafa, identified the man as Omayr Lolah and said he was from the village of Zawata near Nablus.
A funeral was held for him in Nablus on Tuesday morning shortly after health officials announced his death.
In Huwara, one of the six men wounded was hospitalised with serious injuries to the head, the Palestinian Ministry of Health said.
Palestinian media outlets said settlers physically assaulted Palestinians during the attack, as well as set fire to homes and vehicles, sprayed pepper spray, and damaged cars, homes and shops.
Ahmad Jebreen, head of emergencies at the Palestinian Red Crescent in Nablus, said their ambulance was attacked while trying to transfer the injured people.
“While we were transferring the injuries to the emergency center, the settlers attacked the ambulance car infront of the eyes of the occupation soldiers,” Jebreen told Al Jazeera.
The attack began to unfold during iftar time – when Palestinian Muslims were breaking their day-long fast.
One video, verified by Al Jazeera, showed Israeli settlers stoning a Palestinian ambulance driving down the main road in Huwara as Israeli soldiers – standing metres away – watched on.
Two Palestinian ambulances were badly damaged, while one truck was torched.
During the attack, Israeli soldiers were filmed beating and arresting Palestinians, firing tear gas at them, and forcing them to close their shops.
Israeli media reports claimed that Israeli forces had arrested four settlers in connection with the attacks.
An Israeli security official told the Haaretz newspaper that several dozen settlers had thrown stones at Palestinian cars in Huwara and had set a truck on fire, before accusing Palestinians of throwing stones back.
The Palestinian health ministry condemned the destruction of ambulances and increasing recent attacks on the health system, including medics.
“The persistence of the occupation [soldiers] and settlers in attacking treatment centres and health workers, and obstructing the movement of ambulances and paramedics, is increasing dramatically day by day,” the ministry said in a statement on Monday night, adding that it “appeals to international institutions and organisations to intervene”.
Last week, Israeli forces fired dozens of tear gas canisters and stun grenades for more than two hours into the Ramallah public hospital during a raid on the Qaddoura refugee camp. The health ministry said tens of people, including children, suffered from tear gas inhalation.
Attacks on Palestinians also took place in other areas on Monday night.
In Jerusalem, Israelis beat at least one Palestinian man during protests against Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s decision to halt proposed changes to the Israeli judicial system.
The Huwara pogrom
On February 27, Israeli settlers carried out one of the largest organised attacks on Palestinians in years. At least 400 settlers descended onto Huwara where they torched more than 30 Palestinian homes and 100 cars, killed 37-year-old Palestinian man Samih al-Aqtash, and injured hundreds of others, in what was described as a “pogrom”.
The attack took place after a Palesinian gunman killed two Israelis driving near Huwara.
Days later, Israel’s Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich said Huwara “should be wiped out,”, which observers say has further emboldened settler attacks on Palestinians.
Settler attacks have persisted since the Huwara rampage, with little real accountability for the perpetrators.
Last week, Israeli settlers torched a Palestinian home at night in the village of Sinjil, north of Ramallah in the central occupied West Bank. The family, which was asleep at home when the attack took place, managed to evacuate safely.
Smotrich’s statements are in line with actions by the far-right Israeli government that came into power at the end of 2022, which has increased illegal Jewish settlement across the occupied West Bank, increased demolitions of Palestinian homes and vowed to move forward with plans to forcibly displace thousands of Palestinians in the areas of Khan al-Ahmar and Masafer Yatta.