The Mercury News
Israeli settlers rampage after Palestinian gunman kills 2
Scores of Israeli settlers went on a violent rampage in the northern West Bank late Sunday, setting dozens of cars and homes on fire after two settlers were killed by a Palestinian gunman. Palestinian medics said one man was killed and four others were badly wounded in what appeared to be the worst outburst of settler violence in decades.
The deadly shooting, followed by the late-night rampage, immediately raised doubts about Jordan's declaration that Israeli and Palestinian officials had pledged to calm a year-long wave of violence.
Palestinian media said some 30 homes and cars were torched. Photos and video on social media showed large fires burning throughout the town of Hawara — scene of the deadly shooting earlier in the day — and lighting up the sky.
In one video, a crowd of Jewish settlers stood in prayer as they stared at a building in flames. And earlier, a prominent Israeli Cabinet minister and settler leader had called for Israel to strike “without mercy.”
Late Sunday, the Palestinian Health Ministry said a 37-year-old man was shot and killed by Israeli fire. The Palestinian Red Crescent medical service said two other people were shot and wounded, a third person was stabbed and a fourth was beaten with an iron bar. Some 95 others were being treated for tear gas inhalation. Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas condemned what he called “the terrorist acts carried out by settlers under the protection of the occupation forces tonight.”
The European Union said it was “alarmed by today's violence” in Huwara, and said “authorities on all sides must intervene now to stop this endless cycle of violence.” The U.K.'s ambassador to Israel, Neil Wigan, said that “Israel should tackle settler violence, with those responsible brought to justice.”
As videos of the violence appeared on evening news shows, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu appealed for calm and urged against vigilante violence. “I ask that when blood is boiling and the spirit is hot, don't take the law into your hands,” Netanyahu said in a video statement.
The Israeli military said its chief of staff, Lt. Gen. Herzl Halevi, rushed to scene. It said troops were being reinforced in the area as they worked to restore order and search for the shooter.
Ghassan Douglas, a Palestinian official who monitors Israeli settlements in the Nablus region. said that settlers burned at least six houses and dozens of cars in Hawara, and reported attacks on other neighboring Palestinian villages. He estimated around 400 Jewish settlers took part in the attack.
The rampage occurred shortly after the Jordanian government, which hosted Sunday's talks at the Red Sea resort of Aqaba, said the sides had agreed to take steps to de-escalate tensions and would meet again next month ahead of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.