US-Israeli citizen injured in West Bank as parties meet in Egypt to de-escalate
Israeli-American David Stern, a former US Marine, was shot on Sunday afternoon while driving near the Palestinian village of Huwara in the West Bank. According to news reports, Stern fired back at the gunman, wounding him. The attack was then intercepted by Israeli security forces.
Shortly after the incident, US Ambassador to Israel Tom Nides confirmed that an American citizen had been wounded in a shooting attack near Huwara. US President Joe Biden and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spoke on the phone on Sunday, mainly about the judicial reform plan promoted by the Israeli government.
Still, Netanyahu’s office said he also updated Biden on the Huwara incident. Netanyahu’s office issued a statement after the phone call. “The prime minister told President Biden that Israel would continue to act everywhere against terrorists and the architects of terrorism. Netanyahu thanked President Biden for his commitment to Israel’s security,” it read.
The shooting in Huwara happened as senior Israeli, Palestinian, American, Egyptian and Jordanian officials were meeting in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt, to ease tensions in the West Bank and Jerusalem ahead of the start of the fasting month of Ramadan. later this week. At the meeting, Israel reiterated its commitment to halt for a few months any new settlement building initiative.
The meeting was held in Egypt at the initiative of the Biden administration, after the first meeting in Aqaba, Jordan, on February 26. At the time, tensions escalated in the West Bank an hour after the Aqaba meeting when two Israeli brothers were shot. and they were killed while passing through Huwara, and with settlers storming Huwara to take revenge, looting Palestinian houses and property.
A joint statement published after the Sharm el-Sheikh meeting noted that “thorough discussions were held by the parties on ways and means to de-escalate tensions on the ground between the Palestinians and the Israelis, to pave the way forward towards the peaceful settlement between the Israelites. and the Palestinians.”
The joint statement listed nine points on which the participants agreed. Among other things, both Israel and the Palestinian Authority (PA) pledged to end all unilateral measures for a period of three to six months. “This includes Israel’s commitment to stop discussing any new settlement units for 4 months, and to stop authorizing any outposts for 6 months,” the statement read.
The sides also agreed to “develop a mechanism to curb and combat violence, incitement, and inflammatory statements and actions, which will report to the fifth leadership in April, in a resumed session of the meeting in Sharm El Sheikh.” A second mechanism was also agreed upon, to seek measures to improve the living conditions of the Palestinians, including measures to help stabilize the economic and fiscal situation of the AU.
Regarding the holy sites in Jerusalem, especially Temple Mount/Haram al-Sharif, the parties reaffirmed “the commitment to uphold the historical status quo at the Holy Sites in Jerusalem, in word and practice, without change, and they reiterated in this context its importance. Hashemite preservation/special role of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan They emphasized the need for both Israelis and Palestinians to actively prevent any actions that would affect the sanctity of these sites, inter alia during the upcoming Holy Month of Ramadan come, come together. Easter and Easter this year.”