Israel intensifies violence in occupied West Bank

Published 15.12.2018 02:06
Updated 15.12.2018 09:54

The Israeli army has detained roughly 100 Palestinians throughout the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem since dawn Thursday, the Palestinian Prisoners' Association said in a Friday statement.

According to the nongovernmental organization (NGO), the latest spate of arrests included two members of the Palestinian Legislative Council, Palestine's long-moribund parliament. The association went on to assert that the Israeli army's latest arrest campaign had seen numerous Palestinian homes ransacked.

On Thursday, two Israelis were killed and two others injured, in a drive-by shooting near the West Bank city of Ramallah. Following the incident, the Israeli army launched a manhunt for the alleged Palestinian assailant, who reportedly fled the scene in the wake of the attack.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has accused Israel of creating a "climate" of violence by conducting frequent military raids in Palestinian cities. He also accuses Israel of incitement against him.

Residents of the area told Anadolu Agency (AA) earlier that two Palestinians in a car had opened fire on a group of Jewish settlers. There has been no claim of responsibility for the attack, but the Israeli army has since closed all entrances into Ramallah and ordered all forces in the area to remain on standby.

According to local media reports, Jewish settlers vandalized several Palestinian vehicles and homes in the village of Netin east of Ramallah after the attack. Notably, Thursday's attack occurred hours after three Palestinians were killed by Israeli forces for their alleged involvement in an earlier West Bank shooting attack that left two Israelis dead and nine others injured.

According to Israeli media reports, Israeli forces Thursday killed a fourth Palestinian man in the occupied West Bank after he allegedly tried to ram his vehicle into a group of Israeli soldiers in the city of Hebron.

The latest string of West Bank violence comes amid years-long diplomatic paralysis, diminishing hopes for peace and escalating Palestinian frustration with the policies of President Donald Trump, who Palestinians accuse of unfair bias toward Israel.

Peace talks have stalled throughout Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's decade-long tenure, while Israeli settlements in the West Bank have expanded, incensing Palestinians. The international community regards all Israeli settlements in occupied Palestinian territories to be illegal and a major obstacle to Middle East peace.

Israel occupied the West Bank in the 1967 Six-Day War and hundreds of thousands of Jewish-Israelis are now living in the territory, which is claimed by Palestinians for their future independent state. 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 the Israeli settlements could deny them a viable and contiguous state.

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