Illustrative photo – Palestinians in Jenin in the occupied West Bank during clashes with Israeli soldiers, January 26, 2023.
Tel Aviv – Early this morning in the occupied West Bank, a Jewish settler shot dead a Palestinian with a knife who, according to him, had broken into his property. This was reported by the Israeli army according to local media. Fierce clashes between soldiers and Palestinians broke out overnight in the West Bank Arab village of Nilin, where the army raided the home of a Palestinian attacker who injured three people, one seriously, in Tel Aviv on Thursday evening.
Today's incident took place in the settlement of Karnej Šomron in the north of the West Bank. According to the army, the Palestinian had a knife and an improvised explosive device with which he had previously tried to attack two soldiers before being shot dead by a settler.
The night raid in the village of Nilin was accompanied by further clashes between the Israeli army and the Palestinians, who threw stones and, according to the army, Molotov cocktails at the soldiers. Soldiers arrested the father and another relative of the 23-year-old attacker who opened fire on a busy street near a cafe full of people in Tel Aviv on Thursday night. Police shot him on the run shortly after injuring three people. Three injured from Thursday's attack are in a hospital in Tel Aviv, one of them is still in critical condition, The Times of Israel wrote today.
According to Israeli police, the attacker was a previously convicted member of the radical Palestinian movement Hamas, which controls the Gaza Strip. Hamas did not explicitly claim responsibility for the attack, but said in a statement that it was a “natural reaction” to raids by the Israeli army that killed Palestinians.
The Israeli army has been carrying out more intensive raids in the occupied West Bank for about a year, and according to them, their goal is the arrest of Palestinian radicals. This year alone, more than seven dozen Palestinians, mostly radicals, but also several civilians, died during these actions. Fourteen Israelis have lost their lives since January in several terrorist attacks by Palestinian radicals in the West Bank and in Jerusalem, The Times of Israel wrote today.
At the end of February, the violence in the West Bank escalated when dozens of Jewish settlers set fire to houses and cars in the Arab village of Huvára, which even the commander of the Israeli army in the area Yehuda Fuchs described as a pogrom.
Tensions in Israel are also growing in connection with the actions of Benjamin Netanyahu's new government, which took office at the end of December and which also includes far-right and ultra-Orthodox parties. Their representatives, including ministers, support the expansion of Jewish settlements in the West Bank. Most of the international community considers this to be illegal and the main obstacle to solving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Anti-government demonstrations have been taking place in Israel since January, which at first took place every Saturday in Tel Aviv, but after the announcement of the government's court proposal the reforms, which are intended to give more powers to the government in appointing judges and limit the powers of the supreme court, have spread to some other cities, including Jerusalem. More than a hundred thousand people participated several times. The opposition, a number of experts and some soldiers of the Israeli army in reserve criticize the reform, saying that it threatens democracy. Some even talk about the onset of a “dictatorship”.
The latest mass protests, called the “day of resistance against the dictatorship”, took place on Thursday. The evening attack in Tel Aviv took place shortly after Israeli President Yitzhak Herzog called on Netanyahu's government to stop approving judicial reform.