Dozens of Palestinians suffered a temporary asphyxiation from teargas canisters fired by Israeli forces in the occupied West Bank yesterday, according to a local Palestinian official.
Israeli forces used teargas and rubber bullets to disperse Palestinians, who gathered to prevent settlers from attacking their property in the village of Urif, south of Nablus, Mazen Shehada, chief of the village's local council, said, as reported by Anadolu Agency (AA).
"Dozens of Israeli settlers stormed the village and hurled stones on Palestinian homes and a school in the area," he said. According to Shehada, Israeli forces provided protection to the settlers, triggering clashes with Palestinian villagers. There was no comment from the Israeli military on the claim. Last week, Israeli settlers vandalized a Palestinian vehicle in a suspected "price tag" attack in the same village.
Palestinian towns and villages in the West Bank are frequently targeted by extremist Jewish settlers. In September, two Palestinian students were injured this week when Israeli settlers attacked a school near the West Bank city of Nablus, according to the Palestinian Red Crescent. Palestinian schools have long been subjected to Israeli violence. The Al-Laban-Al-Sawiya school in Nablus was attacked by settlers a few months ago and is constantly being attacked by the Israeli army, according to Palestinian residents.
Settlements are one of the most heated issues in efforts to restart Israeli-Palestinian peace talks, frozen since 2014. The international community regards all Israeli settlements in occupied Palestinian territories to be illegal and a major obstacle to Middle East peace. The area, captured by Israel in 1967, is not sovereign Israeli territory and Palestinians there are not Israeli citizens and do not have the right to vote. Some 500,000 Israelis live in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, areas that are also home to more than 2.6 million Palestinians. Palestinians have long argued that Israeli settlements could deny them a viable and contiguous state.