Killing of an Israeli settler triggers a wave of settler attacks and clashes with Palestinians
On 30 April, a Palestinian man stabbed and killed a 32-year-old Israeli settler next to the Za’tara/Tapuach checkpoint in Salfit district. Media reports indicate that, following the killing, the assailant took the settler’s pistol and fired at Israeli border police forces who shot back, injuring and arresting him. The incident triggered a wave of settler attacks against Palestinians and their property, mostly in the Nablus governorate, resulting in the injury of 43 Palestinians and eight settlers, as well as significant property damage.
In two incidents that followed the killing, Israeli settlers raided the villages of ‘Urif in Nablus and Beitillu in Ramallah, stoned and damaged a school and a mosque in the former, and vandalized two houses in the latter. Both incidents triggered clashes with local residents. Israeli forces who arrived at the scenes were stoned and responded by firing tear gas canisters and rubber-coated metal bullets at the Palestinians, injuring 18 of them. Close to the scene of the incident, settlers from Yitzhar settlement set fire to, and damaged, at least 190 olive trees in the nearby villages of Burin, ‘Urif and Madama.
Near the site of the killing a group of settlers stoned Palestinian-plated cars driving near Yitzhar settlement, injuring nine Palestinian students (aged between 13 and 15) and damaging two buses. Settlers erected a new unauthorized outpost in the vicinity of the incident, installing two mobile caravans, which were dismantled by Israeli forces two days later. Israeli forces arrested dozens of Israeli settlers following clashes as they attempted to block Palestinian traffic near the village of Hawwara in Nablus.
Additional attacks were also recorded during the rest of the week in the southern and central West Bank. In the Ramallah governorate (30 April), settlers physically assaulted and injured two Palestinian men while they were working their land near Giv’at Asaf settlement outpost. Also in Ramallah on 4 May, Palestinians and settlers clashed after the latter blocked the road that connects Ras Karkar and Deir Ammar villages and stoned Palestinian houses in Ras Karkar. Israeli forces who intervened, fired rubber-coated metal bullets and tear gas towards the Palestinians, injuring six of them. An Israeli settler was also physically assaulted and injured by Palestinians in the same incident.
In another two incidents in the Bethlehem governorate, Israeli settlers stoned and injured three Palestinians driving near Betar Illit settlement (4 May) and damaged 53 olive trees in Nahhalin village (5 May). In Mikhmas village in Jerusalem, settlers also vandalized 35 olive trees on 2 May.
In three additional incidents during the week (1- 4 May) in Hebron, Bethlehem and Ramallah governorates, Palestinians threw stones at Israeli-plated vehicles, injuring seven Israelis.
While the number of Palestinians injured this week by Israeli forces in weekly demonstrations increased compared to the previous week, it remained well below the weekly average recorded since the beginning of 2013. A total of 20 Palestinians, including 13 children, and four Israeli soldiers, were injured during a protest held in Beit Ummar village (Hebron) in solidarity with Palestinian prisoners on hunger strike (3 May). An additional 11 Palestinians were injured in a weekly demonstration against settler violence in Silwad and Deir Jrir villages in Ramallah (3 May).
Israeli forces demolish 14 livelihood structures
During the reporting period, the Israeli authorities demolished 14 Palestinian-owned structures in Area C and East Jerusalem on the grounds that they lacked Israeli-issued building permits, affecting approximately 50 families; no displacement has been recorded as a result. These demolitions bring the total number of structures demolished in the past two weeks to over 40, displacing around 50 people.
The demolished structures included three agricultural water cisterns, and a network of electricity poles supplying power to 20 households in Beit Ula village in Hebron; 1000 olive and almond trees were damaged during the demolitions on the grounds that the area is designated as a “state land”. Additional demolitions included three agricultural sheds in the villages of Wadi An Nis and Al Khader (both in Bethlehem) and Mikhmas (Jerusalem), two automobile repair shops and a marble shop in Jinsafut village in Qalqiliya, and a balcony in Ath Thuri (Abu Tor) village in East Jerusalem.
This week, Israeli authorities also issued stop-work orders against a five-storey building in Abu Dis in Jerusalem governorate, a mosque in Ras el Amud in East Jerusalem and several houses in Deir Nidham village in Ramallah, on the grounds that they have no Israeli issued building permits.