Jewish Settlers Pepper Spray Israeli Soldiers in West Bank

A picture shows a view of the Israeli settlement of Maale Adumim in the occupied West Bank, on the eastern outskirts of Jerusalem, August 4, 2022. (AFP)
A picture shows a view of the Israeli settlement of Maale Adumim in the occupied West Bank, on the eastern outskirts of Jerusalem, August 4, 2022. (AFP)
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Jewish Settlers Pepper Spray Israeli Soldiers in West Bank

A picture shows a view of the Israeli settlement of Maale Adumim in the occupied West Bank, on the eastern outskirts of Jerusalem, August 4, 2022. (AFP)
A picture shows a view of the Israeli settlement of Maale Adumim in the occupied West Bank, on the eastern outskirts of Jerusalem, August 4, 2022. (AFP)

Jewish West Bank settlers stormed through a Palestinian town in the occupied West Bank, the Israeli military said Thursday, throwing stones at Palestinian cars and using pepper spray on Israeli troops who were trying to disperse the settlers.

The settler rampage late Wednesday comes days after a similar incident in the same area and as Israeli-Palestinian tensions are surging over Israeli raids in the West Bank and an uptick in shooting attacks by Palestinians.

The rampage took place near Huwara, a Palestinian town in the northern West Bank near the city of Nablus, where a group of disaffected youth has taken up arms against Israel and in frustration with the Palestinian leadership’s close security ties to it, AFP reported.

Palestinian militants in the area have carried out several roadside shootings in recent weeks. The area is home to a number of hardline settlements, whose residents often intimidate Palestinians and vandalize their property.

Critics accuse Israel of turning a blind eye to settler violence against Palestinians and treating them with impunity, while being heavy-handed with Palestinian assailants or protesters. Settler violence has in the past also led to confrontations with soldiers which often sparks condemnations from politicians but rarely leads to a solution to the problem.

The military said dozens of settlers ran through the town, throwing rocks at Palestinian cars. The settlers used pepper spray on the battalion commander as well as another soldier. The settlers sprayed another two soldiers at a nearby checkpoint, the military said.

It was not immediately clear why the settlers were allowed to continue to another location after the initial incident.

In a statement, the military's chief of staff, Lt. Gen. Aviv Kohavi, condemned the violence.

“This is a very serious incident that embodies shameful and disgraceful criminal behavior that demands strict and swift justice,” he said.

The violence comes as tensions between Israelis and Palestinians have surged in recent months.

More than 120 Palestinians have been killed in Israeli-Palestinian fighting in the West Bank and east Jerusalem this year, making 2022 the deadliest year since 2015.

Israel captured the West Bank in the 1967 Mideast war, along with east Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip, territories the Palestinian seek for their future state.

Israel has since settled some 500,000 settlers in the West Bank in some 130 settlements.



Israeli Tanks Hit Evacuation Zone West of Rafah, 21 Dead

May 6, 2024 | Displaced Palestinians from Rafah, following Israeli evacuation orders, arrive at Khan Yunis, Gaza. (AFP/GETTY IMAGES)
May 6, 2024 | Displaced Palestinians from Rafah, following Israeli evacuation orders, arrive at Khan Yunis, Gaza. (AFP/GETTY IMAGES)
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Israeli Tanks Hit Evacuation Zone West of Rafah, 21 Dead

May 6, 2024 | Displaced Palestinians from Rafah, following Israeli evacuation orders, arrive at Khan Yunis, Gaza. (AFP/GETTY IMAGES)
May 6, 2024 | Displaced Palestinians from Rafah, following Israeli evacuation orders, arrive at Khan Yunis, Gaza. (AFP/GETTY IMAGES)

Israeli strikes on a tent camp in an evacuation area west of Rafah killed at least 21 on Tuesday, Gaza health authorities said.

Two days after an Israeli airstrike on another camp stirred global condemnation, Gaza emergency services said four tank shells hit a cluster of tents in Al-Mawasi, a coastal area that Israel had advised civilians in Rafah to move to for safety.

At least 12 of the dead were women, according to medical officials. An Israeli military spokesperson said: "As of this time, we are not aware of this incident."

International unease over Israel's three-week-old Rafah offensive has turned to outrage after an attack on Sunday set off a blaze in a tent camp in a western district of the city, killing at least 45 people. Israel said it had targeted Hamas commanders and had not intended to cause civilian casualties, Reuters reported.

Tuesday's attack occurred in an area designated by Israel as an expanded humanitarian zone, to which it had called on civilians in Rafah to evacuate for their own safety when it launched its incursion in early May.

Around one million people - many repeatedly displaced by shifting waves of the war - have fled the Israeli offensive in Rafah since early May, the UN agency for Palestinian refugees (UNRWA) reported on Tuesday.

A video obtained by Reuters showed families on the move again, carrying their belongings through Rafah's shattered streets, their weary children trailing behind them.

"There are a lot of attacks, smoke and dust. It is death from God...The (Israelis) are hitting everywhere. We're tired," said Moayad Fusaifas, pushing along belongings on two bicycles.