EU diplomat demands accountability following Israel settler rampage in West Bank – Middle East Monitor
The European Union’s envoy to the Palestinians on Friday called for accountability, and for perpetrators to be brought to justice following a raid by Israeli settlers this week on the Occupied West Bank in which one Palestinian was killed and torched. on the many houses, shops and cars. , Reuters reports.
Ambassador Sven Kuhn von Burgsdorff, who is leading one of the largest EU delegations to visit the West Bank, said the officials wanted to see with their own eyes the damage caused by God’s violence Sunday in and around the Palestinian village of Huwara. The rampage followed a Palestinian gun attack that killed two Israeli brothers.
“It is absolutely necessary for us that full accountability is ensured, that the perpetrators are brought to justice, that those who lost property are compensated,” said Kuhn von Burgsdorff.
Local media reported that Israel’s Defense Minister, Yoav Gallant, on Thursday signed administrative detention orders for two suspects over the outbreak, after a court in Jerusalem ordered the police to release the seven detained in connection with the court. . ramp.
Amnesty International condemned the release of the suspects in a statement on Friday. He also criticized the use of administrative detention, which he said was a practice that violated international law.
Israeli rights group Yesh Din found that 93 percent of investigations into settler attacks in the West Bank between 2005 and 2022 were closed without indictment.
Israeli Major General Yehuda Fuchs, who commands the Israeli military in the area, said on Tuesday that his forces were prepared to try to get compensation from the settlers for the gun attack but that he was surprised by the intensity of the violence, he said he did. many people. He called it “a pogrom made by an outlaw”.
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Violence has escalated in the West Bank over the past year with increased military raids by Israel following a series of Palestinian attacks. The United States, Jordan and Egypt are appealing for calm, worried about a rise ahead of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan and the Passover festival in late March and early April.
Washington’s call to Netanyahu
The United States demanded that the Prime Minister of Israel, Benjamin Netanyahu, make a call on Wednesday from the distant Minister of Finance, Bezalel Smotrich, that the village of Huwara be destroyed.
On the night of the comments, Netanyahu urged people not to take the law into their own hands, but did not publicly address Smotrich’s statement, or respond to the unusual criticism from Washington, a close ally.
Late Thursday, Palestinian officials said Israeli forces shot 15-year-old Mohammad Nidal Saleem in the back in the West Bank town of Azzoun.
Ahmad Enaya, the Mayor of the town, said that an Israeli military vehicle drove into the town and, when teenagers threw rocks at the car, soldiers responded with live fire.
The Israeli army said in a statement that soldiers shot suspects who threw explosives at the Forces while searching the area for people who had fired fireworks at passing Israeli vehicles near Azzoun.
He said he was aware of reports of people being wounded, but did not confirm any deaths in Palestine.
A statement from the public hospital in Qalqilya, near Azzoun, said two others were treated for gunshot wounds.
“The terrorism being carried out by the settlers, in collaboration with the Occupation government, is unprecedented,” said Walid Assaf, a former Palestinian Authority official who monitored Israeli settlements, speaking at Saleem’s funeral in Azzoun on Friday .
At least 62 Palestinians, including gunmen and civilians, have been killed since the beginning of 2023, the Palestinian Ministry of Health said. Thirteen Israelis and a tourist from Ukraine died in Palestinian attacks in the same period, according to official Israeli figures.
The Palestinians seek to establish a State in the West Bank, East Jerusalem and Gaza, areas captured by Israel in the 1967 war.
“Palestinians will stand firm and defend our lives in the face of this Occupation,” Assaf said.
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