Israel arrests 2 settlers after deadly rampage on a village leaves 1 Palestinian dead

Israeli police say they arrested two Israeli settlers after they stormed a Palestinian village in the West Bank in a rampage that left one Palestinian dead ByJULIA FRANKEL Associated Press August 5, 2023

JERUSALEM — Israeli police said Saturday that they arrested two Israeli settlers after they stormed a Palestinian village in the West Bank in a rampage that left one Palestinian dead.

Armed settlers entered Burqa, a herding village east of the city of Ramallah, late Friday, shooting and killing 19-year-old Qusai Matan, Palestinian health officials said.

Israeli media reported that one of the arrested settlers used to work as an aide, who remained unnamed, for a lawmaker of the far-right Israeli “Jewish Power” party which is in Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s coalition of ultranationalist and ultraorthodox parties in the Israeli parliament. It includes Itamar Ben-Gvir, a pro-settlement firebrand known for hardline positions against Palestinians.

The party couldn’t be reached for comment.

Police said they arrested two settlers after detaining five for questioning. The other settler who was arrested was hospitalized after sustaining injuries Friday night. Authorities did not elaborate on the charges.

The army said that Israeli settlers arrived in the area to herd sheep, leading to clashes between Israelis and Palestinians from the village. Both sides hurled rocks at each other, the army said, and Israelis fired at Palestinians, leaving Matai dead and four Palestinians and several Israelis injured by rocks.

The village was closed down and more Israeli troops were stationed in the area surrounding it.

Palestinian officials said the settlers also burned two cars in the village. They also called for the perpetrators to be punished.

The rampage drew criticism from the U.K. embassy in Israel, which wrote on social media that it was “appalled” by the settler attacks and called for accountability and justice for those involved.

Yair Lapid, an opposition leader in the Israeli parliament, said that violent settler attacks in the West Bank endanger other settlers, describing most as “law-abiding civilians.” He added that the attacks are emboldened by members of Netanyahu’s coalition.

“The backing they receive from the most extreme coalition in the country’s history is a political attack,” he wrote on the platform X, formerly known as Twitter.


Violence has spiraled in the northern West Bank with the rise of shooting attacks by Palestinian groups against Israelis and daily arrest raids by the Israeli military, and growing attacks by extremist Jewish settlers.

The surge in fighting is one of the worst between Israelis and Palestinians in nearly two decades. More than 150 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli fire since the start of 2023 in the West Bank and east Jerusalem, according to a tally by The Associated Press.

Israel says most killed have been militants, but stone-throwing youths protesting army raids and innocent bystanders have also been killed.

At least 26 people have been killed in Palestinian attacks against Israelis so far this year.

Israel captured the West Bank in the 1967 Mideast war, along with the Gaza Strip and east Jerusalem. Palestinians seek those territories for their hoped-for independent state.


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